University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute Awards $40,000 in Grants and Accelerator Office Space


ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business today announced the recipients of the Fall 2010 Dare to Dream Grant Program, where students apply for funding to advance their innovative, high-potential business concepts toward launch. Grant recipients were awarded funding totaling $40,000 based on business concepts and feasibility studies submitted to panels of judges made up of Dare to Dream alumni and other members of the entrepreneurial and venture capital communities. In addition to the financial awards, 12 companies received tenancy at TechArb, the student accelerator co-managed by the Zell Lurie Institute and the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

“Dare to Dream and TechArb are two prime examples of our action-based learning approach in practice. These programs provide the funding, support, and access students need to develop their own businesses while earning their degrees,” said Tom Kinnear, executive director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “The depth of the innovations and the breadth of the industries represented by this year’s teams reflect the unique, environment the University offers to aspiring entrepreneurs.”

The Dare to Dream program, a hallmark of the Zell Lurie Institute, distributes up to $100,000 per academic year to students at the Ross School of Business and their teammates from around the University and has awarded over $700,000 to over 1,000 student entrepreneurs since the program’s inception in 2002.  It benefits students, as well as the local and university community, by stimulating entrepreneurial efforts and starting new businesses. Grants are administered in two funding levels. Assessment grants of $1,500 enable recipients to conduct a feasibility study and Integration grants of up to $10,000 to complete a full business plan and develop an investor pitch. The following student teams received grants in October 2010:

Integration Grants

  • AME Outdoors ($5,000) – Collective reservation services for sport fishing industry
  • Bebaroo ($10,000) – Subscription-based rental service for infant and toddler clothes
  • OWN ($10,000) – Point of sale system for coffee houses and related targeted businesses

Assessment Grants ($1,500 each)

  • @Fingertips – Smart phone accessories to allow visually impaired users access to modern technologies
  • Briese Capital Management – Proprietary approach to managing financial portfolios, focusing on futures trading
  • Chinese American Institute – Provides underserved Chinese youth with opportunities to study at U.S. colleges and universities
  • Finasic – Hardware-based solution for simulating risk profiles for financial institutions
  • Impact Secret – Comprehensive resource center for social and public sector career opportunities
  • Morph Innovations – Novel sole for shoes that can transform between flat and high heel profiles
  • PPX Solutions – Piezoelectric treatment for deep vein thrombosis
  • Specialized Designs – Designs toys that engage and appeal to visually-impaired and sighted children
  • Stigma Free – Designs device for private, in-home testing for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Syncronizer – Provides social media platform that congregates users around topics of interest

TechArb, which is funded by the Zell Lurie Institute, the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering and the Office for Vice President for Research, offers businesses associated with the University a place to launch and grow their businesses. Teams that received tenancy include:

  • Get Fresh Detroit – Provides fresh produce to underserved markets in Detroit
  • Heart Graffiti – Silver commemorative jewelry for female college students
  • June Energy – Portable solar energy products for electricity and lighting in rural Africa and Asia
  • Node Out – Smart-phone applications that utilize crowd-sourced decision engine
  • Sentient Wings – Adds intelligence and functionality to unmanned aerial vehicles
  • SurveyBroker – Online brokerage to match professional marketing surveyors with small- to medium-sized business clients
  • terraOS  – Mobile geo-location services to integrate with smart vehicles and infrastructure
  • WebWise – Service that enables customers to maintain contact relevancy across any number of communication channels

The next application cycle for Dare to Dream Grants and TechArb tenancy will be January 2011. For application materials, please see

About the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Institute and its Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance bring together a potent mix of knowledge, experience and opportunities from the front lines of entrepreneurship and alternative investments.  The student learning experience is further enhanced through internships, entrepreneurial clubs and events that serve to provide viable networks and engage the business community.  The School’s three student-led investment funds, with over $5M under management, immerse students in the business assessment and investment process.  Founding Board Members include Samuel Zell, Chairman of Equity Group Investments and Eugene Applebaum, Founder of Arbor Drugs, Inc. For more information, visit the Institute at

SOURCE: The Zell Lurie Institute

CONTACT: Mary Nickson,, +1-734-615-4424; or Jean Serra,, +1-617-426-2222

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