Nine cash prizes totaling $93,000 and professional services worth more than $40,000 were awarded to the winners of the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest spring cycle competition last night, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The final judging was held at the University of Michigan Business School in Ann Arbor, where the best proposals were selected from throughout the state.
Ann Arbor-based SensiGen won the 2003-2004 GLEQ Grand Prize, which included $50,000 in cash and additional professional services. SensiGen's business plan is to commercialize a non-invasive, gene-based molecular diagnostic that will detect kidney damage at its earliest stage in diabetes and hypertension.
"These winners represent the top rung of a very competitive group of business proposals," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "The men and women behind these innovative ideas are the people that Governor Granholm and the MEDC are looking to as we work to build a 21st century economy for Michigan."
Following are the major competition categories and winners:
First: SensiGen Corporation (Ann Arbor)
Second: Polytorx (Ann Arbor)
Third: Biopolymer Innovations (Kalamazoo)
New Business Ideas (East Region)
First: MetaFuel Technology (Ann Arbor)
Second: Pixel Velocity (Ann Arbor)
Third: Rapid Dry (Farmington Hills)
New Business Ideas (North/West Region)
First: The AST Group (East Lansing)
Second: Qtox (Okemos)
Third: TEC Publishing (Oscoda)
Sixty teams competed in the New Business Ideas category, and 16 teams in the Emerging Companies category. The top three Emerging Companies winners received cash prizes of $50,000, $15,000 and $10,000 respectively. First, second and third place New Business Ideas winners were awarded $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 respectively. All winners also received awards of donated professional services to assist in their business growth.
Independent judges evaluated business plans based on how well the teams responded to critical questions savvy business professionals ask about market potential, management structure, product or services offered, and business plans.
"This year's GLEQ was a spectacular display of Michigan entrepreneurship," said David Brenner, GLEQ chair and managing partner of IdeaWorks, LLC. "The Quest is an educational process to help Michigan entrepreneurs understand the merit of their business idea while learning the skills and developing the networks necessary to move forward on their business plan."
About the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation was instrumental in the founding of the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest, an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that serves to unite the entrepreneurial community and build the critical mass of technology, talent and capital necessary to make Michigan among the best places to start a high-tech enterprise. The organization was founded in 2000 and awarded $480,000 in prize money during the first three years of its annual Business Plan Competition, which is aimed at encouraging and educating entrepreneurs on the creation, start up, and early growth stages of high-growth businesses within the state of Michigan. The Dow Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, McKinsey & Co, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University and Wayne State University are among the many ongoing supporters of the Quest. The University of Michigan's Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies administers this program. Additional information is available at www.gleq.org.
About the Michigan Economic Development Corporation
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.