Semi-Finalists for the 2017 Student Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition Announced

Twenty-seven semi-finalists to compete for $21,000 cash prizes

DETROIT – October 26, 2017 –

The Student Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is pleased to announce today the semi-finalists for its annual program.

Student Accelerate is an incredible opportunity for Michigan’s young entrepreneurs to step out and take risks,” said Paul Jaques, Director of Community and Student Engagement at Spartan Innovations. “Today’s semi-finalists come from colleges and universities all across Michigan and represent the top student-based startup ideas. I’m honored to announce our 2017 Student Accelerate Michigan Class.”

Over fifty companies applied to compete in 2017’s program. The applicant pool is representative of eleven universities across Michigan, including Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Lawrence Technological University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Northwestern Michigan College, Northwood University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University.

“Each year, Student Accelerate brings together some of our most motivated talent,” said Jaques. “All of the competition participants are to be congratulated for demonstrating true innovation and the spirit of entrepreneurship.”

After an intense review process conducted by various directors of entrepreneurship programs from various Michigan colleges and universities, 27 semi-finalists have been selected to compete for up to $21,000 in cash prizes.

About Student Accelerate, Accelerate Michigan, and Partners

Student Accelerate is a partnership between Invest Detroit and Spartan Innovations that collaborates with Michigan colleges and universities. This partnership provides for a student-centric pitch competition that awards over $21,000 in cash prizes to the top student-led businesses across the state. Students from any Michigan-based college or university are able to participate and compete for the winnings.

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is one of the largest business competitions in the nation celebrating its eighth year highlighting the best and brightest early-stage business to regional investors. The competition continues to showcase the state as a powerhouse for business opportunity and the next generation of technology. Participating companies have raised more than $550 million in funding and have created more than 1,000 jobs in Michigan. Since 2014, the program has been led by Invest Detroit as its presenting partner.

Made possible by grants from the New Economy Initiative and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s 21st Century Jobs Fund as well as a significant amount of corporate and community support, Accelerate Michigan has had a significant positive impact on the state’s economy, bolstering and advancing Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. For competition & registration information for the November 3rd event, please visit

Competition Timeline

  • Student Semi-Finalist Pitches will be presented from 11:20am–12:20pm on November 16th, 2017 at the Detroit Masonic Temple, 500 Temple St., Detroit, MI 48201.
  • Student Finalist Pitches will comprise 9 student finalists from 3.00pm–4.00pm
  • Winners will be announced at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition dinner reception at  8pm

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About the Michigan Economic Development Corporation 21st Century Jobs Fund


About The New Economy Initiative


AMIC Media Relations 

2017 Student Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition Semifinalists

Central Michigan University
Elemental, Co LLC.
Guarded Safety

Grand Valley State University
Locker Lifestyle™
The Deployment

Hope College
Deep Sight


Michigan State University
Agri-Tech Pvt., Ltd.
GigGot LLC
Vloggle, LLC
What’s Cookin’

Michigan Technological University

Northwood University

University of Michigan
Arbor Automation Inc.
Points Machine
Ponix Inc.

Wayne State University
It Comes Naturally LLC

Western Michigan University
MP Insert Engineering



  • Semi-Finalist Pitches will be from 11:20am-12:20pm on November 16th, 2017 at the Detroit Masonic Temple, 500 Temple St., Detroit, MI 48201.  You will be invited to stay for lunch, which will be served until 1:30.
  • Finalist Pitches will comprise of 9 student finalists will be announced and those finalists will pitch to the entire Accelerate Michigan audience from 3-4 p.m.
  • Winners will be announced at the dinner reception later that evening around 8 p.m.


First Round: Preliminary Application
Deadline Thursday, October 12th, 2017

  • Initial Application
  • Pitch Video (1-min), which will be evaluated by:
    • Creativity
    • Delivery
    • Structure

Semi-Finalists Announced
Around  October 26th, 2017

If selected as a semi-finalist, please submit your presentation via Submittable.  You will have 4 minutes each to pitch to the judges and their will be one judge comment but no questions.  Make sure to bring a backup flash drive with you to the event.

Mentor Session
Around November 1st, 2017

  • Must have the 4-minute pitch deck ready

Final Pitch Deck Due
November 9th, 2017

Second Round: Semi-Final Pitches
Onsite Judging on November 16th, 2017, 11:20 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
27 companies

Final Round: Final Pitches
Onsite Judging on November 16th, 2017, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
~9 companies, 4-min pitches

Winners Announced
Gala Awards Dinner Dinner, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m



Do we have to make our presentation around the business model canvas

No, please create your pitch around the following criteria:

  • What is your product/service and how do you solve a problem?
  • What is your product/service’s competitive advantage over others?
  • What customer segments can this product/service be marketed to?
  • How will you make money and is it feasibly realistic?
  • What are your next steps and execution plan?
  • How is your team uniquely suited to build this company?

What is the Mentor Session?

The Mentor session is a review of your draft presentation by experts who will give you valuable suggestions and feedback.  You may be presenting your draft pitch in front of the other semi-finalists and mentors.

Is the Mentor session required?

Yes – if selected, you will receive more information on the logistics.

Will I be able to change my slides after I submit them on 10/30/16?

No, we are not allowing any changes.  Your pitch deck can be submitted in the formats of PowerPoint or PDF in a 16:9 page setup.

Can I have a video and audio on my slides?

We encourage no video or audio on the slides as it can cause technical complications at the event. If you decide to include video or audio, and there are errors during your presentation, you are taking that risk on your own.

Is there a maximum amount of slides?

You only have 4 minutes to pitch so we recommend about 5 to 10 max.

If selected as a semi-finalist, will I receive free admission?

Each team will receive two free registrations. Any additional team members will be required to pay to attend, however, students will receive a 50% discount.



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.