The six-month Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize will be decided Friday, when the University of Michigan will award more than $100,000 to students and researchers from across the state.
The effort is primarily a training program, not a competition, says Jonathan Fay, associate director at U-M’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which is administering the innovation prize. The program offers participants intensive startup training based on the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program — making it the first time the so-called I-Corps curriculum is available to undergraduates.
“Most business plan competitions are a beauty contest,” Fay says. “I-Corps ensures there’s a viable business model before moving forward.”
The competition was originally the Clean Energy Venture, however Amy Klinke, contest director and associate director at the Center for Entrepreneurship, says the group decided to reformat the program to include other aspects of business such as interacting with customers and business planning.
More than 80 teams from 16 colleges and universities in Michigan applied for the program. About 20 were selected — based on how they made their venture unique and individualized within their market, team experience, and commitment to their goals of the project. The final pitch competition and showcase is being conducted this week.
The finalists include:
- 1Knol, a wiki that helps students, professors, and researchers collaborate to summarize, classify, and create knowledge in an organized way
- Berry Logistics, which designs, manufactures, and implements a series of products that can be used to improve shipping and handling practices in supply chains
- Black Pine Engineering, which offers mechanical pumps that increases the power generating potential of geothermal power plants
- Built, an ecommerce company that streamlines sustainable building design and construction in the residential and light commercial market sectors
- Carbon Cash, an application allowing students to reduce their carbon footprint by changing their personal energy usage habits
- DragAroundMe, which provides a simple and easy way to share, transfer, and receive files without having to register
- Engine Angel, enterprise management software for trucking fleets of all sizes across the country
- EyeAnalyze, an online tool for automated retinal image analysis
- Hydro Guide, which offers a product providing real-time feedback and increases the overall awareness to the condition of our bodies
- IBV Low Cost Ventilator, a low-cost ventilator for infants suffering from respiratory ailments in developing nations
- iSuture, which uses innovative platform technology to define and measure the optimal technique for facial closure
- SafeSense, dedicated to solving head safety trauma using printed electronics
- Savant, software that simplifies genetic information analysis and helps lead cancer patients to the best treatment options
- SIB Medical Technologies, which collects stool samples for gastrointestinal illnesses, bacteria, and parasite testing
- Sit-to-Stand Device Team, which is creating a rehabilitation device that aids patients in standing in order to reduce their hospital stays
- Soletics, a bio-thermoregulatory system for winter athletes and outdoorsmen
- SOUP Spoon by WSP2 LLC, an assistive eating tool for individuals who struggle with tremors and fine motor skills
- StageOne, a web and mobile solution allowing theatres and prop suppliers to save money by easing logistics in the prop exchange process
- Superior AquaSystems LLC, a modular and scalable aquaculture business that removes the existing barriers for entrepreneurs to enter the aquaculture industry.
- Swaddle-mi-Bili, a low-cost, wearable solution for neonatal jaundice using fiber-optic technology promoting maternal-infant bonding
- Team 7, FREAS: Fire Response Emergency Assistance System, a remote-controlled robot to assist firefighters in the surveillance of burning buildings and the location of trapped victims
- ZC5 Designs, a helmet safety system utilizing modern technologies to improve user safety and convenience