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Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan Announces Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

DETROIT, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, a new region-wide network for building and retaining new business in southeast Michigan, today announces the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, an international business plan competition designed to highlight Michigan as a robust and vibrant venue for innovation and business opportunity.

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan has granted Ann Arbor SPARK $750,000 to launch the competition on behalf  of the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, composed of four of the region's key business accelerators– Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, Macomb-OU INCubator, and TechTown. Joining the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition as partners for event are the University Research Corridor (Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University) and Business Leaders for Michigan.

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition will uncover the best and brightest new business concepts from local and global entrepreneurs, exposing those opportunities to potential investment capital and fostering their growth within Michigan. Slated to be the world's largest business plan competition with more than $1 million in cash awards, plus in-kind awards of services, staffing and software, the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition targets early stage businesses with proven technology and potential to generate an immediate impact on Michigan's economy, as well as student concepts with longer-term business viability.  

The business plan competition is open to entrepreneurs in Michigan and worldwide who are willing to establish a business in the state. Participants will submit entries in nine categories including advanced materials, advanced transportation, alternative energy, homeland security and defense, information technology, life science, medical devices, next generation manufacturing and products and services.  A separate track designed specifically for students to submit business concepts is open to any undergraduate or graduate student attending a Michigan university or college in fall 2010.

The competition kicks off on August 24, 2010, and culminates with a gala awards brunch in Ann Arbor on December 11, 2010. The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition concludes with the University of Michigan vs. Michigan State University "Big Chill" hockey game at Michigan stadium and includes a pre-game tailgate party for all judges and participants.  

"The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition highlights Michigan as the destination for innovation," said David Egner, executive director of the New Economy Initiative. "As the first of many projects of the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, the competition will help to accelerate the transition of our region to an innovation-based economy. We are pleased that the University Research Corridor and Business Leaders for Michigan are joining with us as partners and support the message that Michigan is an ideal place to launch and grow a new business."

"The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition provides second stage entrepreneurs with the opportunity to showcase their ideas and grow their companies in a region where new business thrives due to the unique resources available," said Michael Finney, president & CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. "We also hope to reach the large number of talented Michigan University and college students and encourage them to submit their homegrown ideas to build upon Michigan's entrepreneurial ecosystem."

For more information about the Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition, visit, or connect with the competition via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan

The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan is new region-wide network for building and retaining new business in southeast Michigan. Composed of the region's four key business accelerators– Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, Macomb-OU INCubator, and TechTown, the organization will work collaboratively to share best practices, host events focused on addressing issues and goals that impact southeast Michigan, support business plan development, and leverage funding to grow business in the region.  

The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan is supported through a three-year, $3 million grant from the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan.

About The New Economy Initiative

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (NEI) is an innovative philanthropic effort to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy that expands opportunity for all. Ten national, regional and local foundations have committed $100 million to this unprecedented eight-year initiative, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit, Michigan), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield, Michigan), the Ford Foundation (New York, New York), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit, Michigan), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek, Michigan), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami, Florida), The Kresge Foundation (Troy, Michigan), the McGregor Fund (Detroit, Michigan), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, Michigan), and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit, Michigan). The participating foundations are leading the implementation and governance of the Initiative. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home. For more information, please visit

About the University Research Corridor

Michigan's University Research Corridor (URC) is an alliance of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University with a vision to contribute toward the transformation of Michigan's economy.

The URC is among the top R&D clusters in the nation (compared with regions of the USA such as Route 128 in Boston, Research Triangle in North Carolina, and Silicon Valley in Northern California) for producing patents, new business, and graduates with high-tech related degrees needed in growing new fields. In addition, the three universities serve as a magnet in helping to attract new business to the state of Michigan.

About Business Leaders for Michigan

Business Leaders for Michigan (, the state's business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a "Top Ten" state for job and economic growth.

The organization is composed exclusively of the chairpersons, chief executives or most senior executives of Michigan's largest companies and universities, which provide over 300,000 jobs in Michigan, generate over $1 trillion in annual revenue and serve over 130,000 students.

SOURCE Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan
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