DETROIT — As part of the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, a competition designed to advance ideas and solutions to address Michigan’s social challenges, Consumers Energy and The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) are sponsoring the “Fostering Energy Affordability” category and will award a $10,000 cash prize for a social venture with market traction and a $5,000 cash prize for the best new business idea.
In this new “Fostering Energy Affordability” category, Consumers Energy and THAW are seeking scalable solutions that encourage reductions in energy use and development of tools to foster energy affordability within low-income communities. As part of the sponsorship, Consumers and THAW will also support events and relevant programs for participants in The Challenge.
“We are thrilled to support the development of innovative ideas in the social sector, especially around energy,” said Patti Poppe, vice president of customer experience and operations at Consumers Energy.
Created by Michigan Corps, in partnership with Great Lakes Entrepreneurs’ Quest and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., The Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge invites individuals and teams to submit plans for an emerging company or a new business idea focused on sustainable social change in a wide range of areas including but not limited to urban revitalization, energy, environment, health, and education.
“This is a great opportunity to tap the talent that exists in the state of Michigan,” said Susan Sherer, THAW, CEO. “We have some innovative thinkers in this state and it will be exciting to see the ideas that come forward.”
In addition to the $15,000 award for the “Fostering Energy Affordability,” The Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge will award more than $50,000 in MEDC sponsored cash prizes, as well as provide coaching, mentorship, networking and resources to advance new ideas and emerging organizations that create new solutions to persistent social problems.
“In rewarding the best new ideas in energy efficiency, this competition will boost Michigan’s home grown entrepreneurs and jump-start new business ventures, and at the same time help our cash-strapped cities save energy and money,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney.
The registration deadline will be extended to April 10 to accommodate this newly announced “Fostering Energy Affordability” Prize, however, applicants who register before the overall deadline of March 27 will be guaranteed a coach to support the preparation of their submission. Those registering after March 27 will be matched with a coach if one is available. All participants will have access to special events to support the development of their entry to be submitted by the May 20 deadline. A special Social Entrepreneurship Showcase and Pitch event will take place on June 18 at GLEQ’s Entrepreneur Connect event in Lansing.
To apply or learn more about the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge visit http://michigancorps.org/TheChallenge.