2017 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition Yields Northwood Finalists
Northwood University students recently showed off their business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit at the 2017 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition held in Detroit, Michigan. “The Accelerate Michigan competition highlights the state as the destination for innovation and an ideal place to launch and grow a new business and helps to fast-track the transition of the region to an innovation-based economy,” said Dr. Stelian Grigoras Northwood University innovation marketing and management chair. “During the competition, each team pitched a business venture idea for the chance to win cash prizes and had the chance to meet investors from around the country.”
Twenty seven student-led teams, including two teams from Northwood University, qualified to participate in the Student Accelerate Michigan competition, a Student partnership between Invest Detroit and Spartan Innovations that collaborates with Michigan colleges and universities. The partnership awards more than $21,000 in cash prizes to the top student-led businesses across the state through a student-centric pitch competition.
Two teams of Northwood students were led by Grigoras and Nasim Hosein, marketing department chair at Northwood, who served as mentors. The teams were selected from a pool of six who also prepared for the competition through the renowned Northwood University Bauervic Business Pitch Competition. Northwood teams won two prizes out of four in the final phase of the prestigious competition, the first Northwood students to make this stage of the competition.
Jason Lees, a senior from Holt, Michigan, whose product is GoSpot LLC, received $4,000 as a student venture winner and Charles Proctor, a senior from Bay City, who created XGrip LLC, received $3,000 for his idea.
The competition started with teams from around Michigan submitting a brief summary of their business, plus a one-minute video describing the key points of the business. A panel of judges reviewed each submission, and the top teams progressed to the semi-finals. Teams appearing in Detroit for semi-finals were required to deliver a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges who included: Beth Ardisana (CEO of ASG Renaissance), Herman Moore (Founder of Team 84 Marketing), Maria Thompson (Entrepreneur in Residence at Arsenal Venture Partners), and Matt Ziskie (Head of Global Procurement at Airbnb).
The event was help during Global Entrepreneurship Week, when many events at Northwood were centered around business innovation. Northwood students also participated in the Bauervic Business Pitch Competition, where students Charles Proctor, Carissa Wilcox and Loren Westlake each earned a share of $5,000.