Michigan Business Challenge awards $62K to start-ups

Posted on March 4, 2013

Michigan Business Challenge sent out $62,000 in seed capital this week to a broad range of start-ups being led by University of Michigan students. That cash was accompanied by another $50,000 in seed capital from the Dare to Dream program.

Both programs are part of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the university’s Ross School of Business. The grants, ranging from $200 to $10,000, is provided by donations from alumni like the Mayleben (Dare to Dream sponsor) and partners who sponsor the awards, such as the $2,500 Marketing Award sponsored by Mark Petroff. That money is often the spark that accelerates the growth of these start-ups.

“It gives them extra motivation,” says Sarika Gupta, program manager for the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “Its validation of the idea and the business.”

Among this year’s winners are:

– Focus, a combination device and application for physical therapy and training, won the Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business for $20,000.
– Exo Dynamics, an ergonomic support device that enables healthcare practitioners who experience back problems to perform at their best in the operating room, won the $10,000 Pryor-Hale Runner up and the $5,000 Williamson Award for Outstanding Business & Engineering Team
– Torch Hybrid, a software service provider for marine hybrid-electric powertrain development and energy management, won $2,000 for Best Written Plan and the $2,500 Marketing Award sponsored by Mark Petroff
– Centricycle, a non–profit working to improve healthcare in rural India through the implementation of sustainable diagnostic technology and education, won $7,500 from the Erb Award for Sustainability

Jon Zemke, Concentrate Media.