Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Zell Lurie Institute awards $34,500 and TechArb space for student entrepreneurs

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business has announced the recipients of the Fall 2011 Dare to Dream grant program and TechArb tenancy.

View the full list of Dare to Dream Grant recipients.

Dare to Dream awarded $34,500 based on business concepts and feasibility studies submitted to panels of judges. The announcement was made during a luncheon hosted by Ann Arbor SPARK, which has supported the Dare to Dream program through the participation of staff on review panels, the provision of space to student teams at its Entrepreneur Boot Camp, and through offering resources and networking opportunities to student teams.

The student business accelerator TechArb also welcomed eight new tenants. Together, the programs encourage the thoughtful development of student-led businesses and provide real-world experience with venture creation activities.

"Dare to Dream and TechArb embody our commitment to action-based learning that helps students develop the entrepreneurial skills necessary to graduate not only with a degree, but also with the experience to launch their own business, join a startup or innovate within a corporate environment," says Tom Kinnear, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute adn teh Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and professor of marketing.

"These programs provide the funding, support, and access that build on the business fundamentals these students learn in the classroom. I'm continually impressed with promise of this year's recipients and expect to see a lot more of them in the future — at the Michigan Business Challenge competition, Michigan Growth Capital Symposium and well beyond."

The Dare to Dream program distributes up to $100,000 per academic year to U-M students. Grants are administered in three funding levels that build upon one another. These start with venture-shaping grants of $500 for students with a promising business idea, followed by assessment grants of $1,500 where students conduct a feasibility study, and integration grants of up to $10,000 to complete a full business plan and develop an investor pitch.

Tech Arb, managed by the Zell Lurie Institute and Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering, provides early stage companies that are launching the benefit of support through a community of entrepreneurs and mentors.

Eight student teams have been awarded tenancy in TechArb in conjunction with the Dare to Dream grant program. Teams that will move in this November include:

• EVStation, which addresses the issue of limited availability of electric-vehicle charging stations.

• FinAsk, an online platform connecting personal financial advisers to those seeking financial advice.

• IFM Database, a building management software plug-in that self-populates with equipment maintenance requirements.

• SynapTech, licensing agreements and technical support for a patent-pending platform neural interfacing technology.

• Team Fit, a platform that allows dieters to maintain motivation and accountability in their weight loss goals.

• Thrively, which seeks to solve the lack of tools for employee feedback and self-development.

• YouTrivia, a platform that allows anyone to create and share trivia games.