The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is open to any early stage business — from anywhere in the world.

We’re looking for companies that have a strong technology or concept and serious growth potential.

If you think that $500,000 would give your company the boost to move it to the next level – please apply to compete. Payment can be made via our PayPal system with Visa, Mastercard and Discover.

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

We’re looking for the applicants to have some of the attributes below. Please note that these are not rigid criteria, they’re a loose set of guidelines.


  • Innovative & proven (past proof of concept)
  • At a commercial stage
  • Must be a scalable business (service businesses are not eligible)
  • Must qualify in one of the following sectors:
    • Advanced Materials / Manufacturing
    • Alternative Energy
    • Business Services
    • Consumer Products
    • Information Technology
    • Life Sciences / Healthcare
    • Media
    • Mobility
    • Other


  • Potential to achieve $10M+ in annual revenue by 2020
  • Have raised no more than $2M in private investment (including angel & venture rounds / excluding private or public grants)
  • Have current annual revenue of no more than $5M


  • Accelerate Michigan is targeted at innovation-based, technology-led companies
  • US companies must provide their EIN
  • For winners not currently located in the state of Michigan to receive the award you must relocate your business to Michigan
  • Companies that have previously won a total value of $50,000 in AMIC awards are not eligible

PLEASE NOTE : US Companies need to supply their EIN. While there are many great lifestyle businesses (for example: boutiques, cafes, consulting firms), Accelerate Michigan is targeted at innovation-based, technology-led companies. If you have questions about eligibility, please send them to With the exception of the “People’s Choice,” prize winners must have the winning business registered and located in the state of Michigan. For winners not currently located in the state of Michigan to receive the award you must relocate your business to Michigan.


  1. Business plans can only be submitted once and in only one sector category.
  2. There is no limit on the number of people on a team, but only two team members will receive complimentary admission.
  3. Each executive summary & slide deck must be submitted in an individual sector track.
  4. All applications must be the original work of those making the submission.
  5. All semi-finalists (with the exception of the “People’s Choice”) must agree that, should they be chosen as a finalist or winner, they will use prize winnings to establish or continue business operations in Michigan. For winners not currently located in the state of Michigan to receive the award you must relocate your business to Michigan.
  6. Existing businesses may propose a new business that would have operations in Michigan.
  7. Partially completed applications will not be accepted. Online applications for the company competition are due by 11:59pm Eastern Time on September 2nd, 2016.
  8. Applicants risk disqualification if they attempt to approach a judge, or have someone do that on their behalf, in connection with the competition.
  9. The decisions of the judges are final, including interpretation of the rules.
  10. Accelerate Michigan shall be held harmless in the event of any legal action.
  11. Accelerate Michigan takes no responsibility for agreements between competition participants and third parties.
  12. Accelerate Michigan takes no part in and has no liability for the domestic or international intellectual property rights of competition participants. Participants are responsible for their own intellectual property. Participants must keep confidential information confidential. For more detail see the Confidentiality & IP section.
  13. Entry materials become the property of Accelerate Michigan.
  14. Participants who engage in immoral activities, including lying and cheating, or any activity that may adversely affect the image of Accelerate Michigan or other participants, become ineligible for the Competition.
  15. All work and submissions of Entrants must be original to the Entrant/team.
  16. All participants must comply with the rules. Any violation of the rules will disqualify an Entrant’s team from the competition, and result in forfeiture of any awards awarded to the team.
  17. The $500,000 Grand Prize consists of a $100,000 cash award and two convertible notes of $250,000 and $150,000.


First Round: Preliminary Application

Deadline Friday, September 2nd

  • Two page executive summary
  • Slide Deck (10 slides max)
  • Both documents may consist of:
    • Problem
    • Solution & Value Proposition
    • Market Fit & Market Size
    • Customer Acquisition / Product Distribution
    • Business Model
    • Competitive Landscape
    • Financial Projections (2016-2020)
    • Team

Second Round: Semi-Final Pitches

Onsite Judging on November 3, 2016
36 companies

  • Slide Deck (10-15 slides)
  • 10min Presentation
  • 10min Q&A

Final Round: Final Pitches

Onsite Judging on November 3, 2016
10 companies

  • November 3, 2016 during the Gala Award Dinner
  • 5min Elevator Pitch (6 slides)


Grand Prize: $500,000

First Runner Up: $100,000

Second Runner Up: $50,000

A number of Highlight Prizes: $25,000/each
ie. University Tech, Accelerator, and others to be announced


Who is eligible to enter?

Submissions accepted worldwide, but there is a residency requirement to accept the top two prizes. If your company is selected as a semi-finalist, at least two members of your team must be present on November 3–5, 2015 at the Accelerate Michigan event to pitch in front of a live judging panel and audience. 

What kind of business idea can I submit?

For stage of company, please see eligibility requirements. With respect to sector we’re looking for a wide range of submissions. While there are many great lifestyle businesses (for example: boutiques, cafes, consulting firms), your best bet with those businesses is often to raise funds via your friends and family.

Excluded are: buy-outs, expan­sions of exist­ing com­pa­nies, real estate syn­di­ca­tions, tax shel­ters, fran­chises, and licens­ing agree­ments for dis­tri­b­u­tion in a dif­fer­ent geo­graph­i­cal area. Licensed tech­nolo­gies from uni­ver­si­ties and research labs are encour­aged assum­ing they have not been com­mer­cial­ized previously.

What stage of business do I have to be in?

How big can my team be?

There are no restrictions on teams.

How does judging work? What do judges look for in a plan?

Please see judging page for details, but on a broad view plan will be judged based on creativity and innovation involved in the business concept, likelihood of business success, stage of development, team’s knowledge of the product/service and its market, growth potential and capability to become market leader, sustainability of the business and competitive advantage as well as the rationality of the financing strategy.

Who are the judges?

The judges consist principally of VCs, angel investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs.

How will my intellectual property be protected?

If my intellectual property is not protected, can I enter the competition?

Yes, but this being a public forum, we cannot guarantee that your idea will remain confidential.

Is there a residency requirement for the winning companies?

Yes, the top two prizes are required to either be located in Michigan or relocate the main office to Michigan.

Is there a fee for companies to apply?

Yes. To ensure commitment from applicants, there is a nominal $100 fee to apply.

As of the July 23, 2014, we’ll only have raised $1.5 Million, but we’re in the process of fundraising. If we raise additional funds before the competition finals will it disqualify us?

As long as you haven’t raised the 2 million by July 22, 2015, you’re fine.

Can I get a copy of the business plans?

Business plans presented in the competition will not be made available. However, if a team is willing to share their plan with you on a one-to-one basis that is acceptable.

Are the company prizes structured as grants, investments, or a combination?

All company prizes include grant funding, but the top two prizes also include an investment component. Here is a breakdown of the prizes offered:


– Top prize $500K: $400K investment, $100K grant. The $400K comes from Ann Arbor SPARK ($250K), Invest Michigan ($100K), and Invest Detroit ($50K). All three entities work together to set the terms, and it can be through a convertible note, priced round or another instrument, whichever is most appropriate for the company. Most often, it has been through a convertible note.


– Runner-up $100K: $50K investment from Invest Michigan, $50K grant. Invest Michigan leads that investment, similar to the above.


– Sector Prizes: $25K grants.


– People’s Choice Prize: $10K grant.


Access to submitted abstracts is granted only by the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition to the members of its judging panels and to Invest Detroit and its affiliates as administrators of the Competition.

Before submitting your abstract, submitting your executive summary or presenting your business plan in the semi-final or final rounds of the {biz plan} we urge you to confirm with appropriate advisors or legal counsel that any intellectual property described in your plan is appropriately protected.

All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions.

The authors of the business plan will retain all copyrights to the plan regarding its use at all times prior to and following the competition except as stated below. Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant.

The organizer of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations including the business plan and other documents, charts or material prepared for use in presentation. By entering the competition, you will have agreed to grant a release to the organizers, sponsors and funding sources of the competition to use such materials without restriction.



The mission of your executive summary is to engage the reader’s interest and compel them to either review your business plan or set up a meeting.

The first round submission for this competition should be no longer than two pages of text. Any summaries longer than the aforementioned limits will be returned for editing.

Please include the following elements in your executive summary.

You should describe the product/service and the pain point/market need that it is addressing. It is expected that you will have the following elements in your document.  The manner and order in which you address these elements is completely up to you.

  • Problem
  • Solution & Value Proposition
  • Market Fit & Market Size
  • Customer Acquisition / Product Distirbution
  • Business Model
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Financial Projections (2016-2020)
  • Team