Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Zell Lurie Institute awards $106,300 to U-M student startups

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business has announced winners of its 2011 Michigan Business Challenge competition awards and Eugene Applebaum Dare to Dream Grants for U-M student startups.

Award winners and grant recipients received funding totaling more than $106,000 for excellence in new business plans and concepts.

Award-winner MEMStim plans to sell MEMS electrode leads to medical device companies for integration into their targeted nerve stimulation devices. Ultimately, the company is committed to improving the standard of patient care in neurostimulation. The two MBA students and doctoral student that form the company team will use the award money to quantify regulatory risks and further prototype development.

"The Michigan Business Challenge Best Business Award is an incredible honor because of the caliber of the judges and other businesses in the competition," says Angelique Johnson, a doctoral student in electrical engineering and computer science, and member of the MEMStim team. "We are a strong team and have learned new entrepreneurial skills throughout the competition that build upon our diverse past experiences and will help us bring our technology to market."

Michigan Business Challenge

The four-month, multiround Michigan Business Challenge helps students to transform their business idea from a rough concept into a sound business plan. Students participate in business-development seminars that reinforce the notion that a solid business foundation is necessary to commercialize a great idea.

More than 50 teams from colleges and schools around campus applied to participate in this year's Michigan Business Challenge. The competition awarded a total of $54,300 in prize money to the following recipients:

• Brio Device is a medical device design company and won $1,200 for advancing to the finals.

• IRIZ Technologies is seeking to revolutionize cancer metastasis treatment and won $700 for advancing to the semi-finals.

• MEMStim sells microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) electrode leads to medical device companies and won $20,000 for the Pryor-Hale award for best business, $5,000 for the Williamson award for Outstanding Business and Engineering Team, and $2,000 for the Outstanding Presentation Award.

• Regenerate, which markets on-site anaerobic digesters to food service operators, won $10,000 for Runner-up for Best Business and $7,500 for the Erb Award for Sustainability.

• Reveal Design develops and licenses a formal verification software tool to chip design firms, and won $2,000 for Outstanding Presentation.

• SanoBio Therapeutics is taking a novel peptide molecule and commercializing it for the treatment of diabetic ulcers, and won $2,500 for Outstanding Undergraduate Team.

• STIgma Free develops point-of-care medical diagnostics using microfluidics and Bio-MEMS technology, and won $700 for advancing to the semi-finals.

• SurveyBroker is a website matching researchers with market research companies, and won $2,000 for Best Written Plan.

• Thoosa is an international freight brokerage specializing in container shipments, and won $700 for advancing to the semifinals.

Dare to Dream Student Startup Grant

The Dare to Dream Grant Program funds students looking to test their business idea, formulate a plan, and work toward launching their business while earning their degree. The program is co-sponsored with the Center for Entrepreneurship. More than $40,000 in grants was awarded during the fall term, with $52,000 awarded this term at the Michigan Business Challenge Awards reception.

Integration Grants of up to $10,000 were awarded to:

• AYaH, LLC ($5,000), a game-based Captcha — a type of challenge-response test used in computing — that is simple and secure.

• STIgma Free ($5000), point-of-care diagnostic devices for STDs.

• ReGenerate ($10,000 and Ann Arbor SPARK Bootcamp scholarship), on-site bio-digester systems for food service operators.

• StrideSports ($10,000 and Ann Arbor SPARK Bootcamp scholarship), standing bikes.

Also, Assessment Grants of $1,500 were awarded to 11 teams, and Venture Shaping grants of $500 were awarded to 11 teams.

The Michigan Business Challenge and Dare to Dream award recipients illustrate U-M model for entrepreneurial studies. The model puts a high value on integrated, experiential learning across the entrepreneurial studies curriculum and throughout its portfolio of entrepreneurial program offerings.

"What began as a business-school-centric competition in 1984, now engages students drawn from the university's 19 schools and colleges. Collaboration with the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering helped us to broaden the Dare to Dream Grant Program as well," says Tom Kinnear, executive director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

"These initiatives are among a robust portfolio of programs here at the Business School and within U-M's entrepreneurial ecosystem that push the envelope of entrepreneurship education, where Michigan students can develop the breadth and depth of an entrepreneurial skill set an individual chooses."