DETROIT, Nov. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition awarded more than $1 million in cash and in-kind services Thursday night to the winners of North America's largest business plan competition. The competition's grand prize of $500,000 in cash was awarded to Ypsilanti, Mich.-based DeNovo Sciences and the grand prize of $25,000 for the student portion of the competition was awarded to University of Michigan's students for their company "are you a human."
The three-day competition was held Tuesday, Nov. 15 until Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Eagle Crest Conference Center at Eastern Michigan University. The winners were announced on Nov. 17 at the Finals and Gala Awards Celebration held at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.
Grand prize winner, DeNovo Sciences, is developing an instrument system and reagent kit that allows for the separation, detection and retrieval of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from peripheral whole blood creating an alternative to traditionally painful and invasive biopsies. The $150,000 prize winner, Fusion Coolant Systems, provides an advanced coolant and lubrication system for use in manufacturing.
In the student category, "are you a human" received the top $25,000 student prize for its Detroit-based web startup that uses games for human verification online. Student category runner-up Fashion Forward Maternity received $15,000 for developing an online boutique where savvy professional women can rent high-quality and designer maternity fashions at a fraction of the price.
"We congratulate all of this year's companies and students for demonstrating their competitive innovations and creative business spirit," said Lauren Bigelow, executive director of the competition. "DeNovo Sciences and 'are you a human' topped a list of outstanding companies and student applications that entered the competition. These companies demonstrate how the entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to grow and thrive in a state that was built on the foundation of innovation."
The competition began with a total of 312 company entries and 298 student entries before being narrowed down to 53 company and 24 student/student team semi-finalists. Ten company and 10 student/student-team finalists competed on the final day of the competition for a chance at a piece of the more than $1 million in cash and in-kind services.
Additional award winners for the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition include:
*People's Choice - $10,000:
Shoulder Innovations, LLC, Ada
*AARP Encore Award - $25,000:
NEXTGEN Metabolomics, Inc., Ann Arbor
Company Sector awards - $25,000 prize each
*Dow Corning Advanced Materials Award:
InfiChem Polymers, LLC, Sterling Hts.
*Ford Advanced Transportation Award:
ENRG Power Systems, LLC, Grand Rapids
*DTE Energy Alternative Energy Award:
Grid Logic, Lapeer
*General Dynamics Land Systems Defense and Homeland Security Award:
H3D, LLC, Ann Arbor
*Comcast Information Technology Award:
i3D Technologies, Inc., Ann Arbor
*Medical Devices Award:
Advanced Cooling Therapy, LLC, Chicago, IL
*Life Sciences Award:
OcuSciences, Inc., Ann Arbor
*Masco Next Gen Manufacturing Award:
ePack, Inc., Ann Arbor
*Products and Services Award:
LLamasoft, Inc., Ann Arbor
* JP Morgan Chase Student Grand Prize Winner - $25,000: "are you a human"
* First Runner-up - $15,000: Fashion Forward Maternity
* Second Runner-up - $10,000: Quick Hitch
* People's Choice Award - $10,000: Design Innovations for Infants & Women Everywhere
The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition also recognized Mike Jandernoa, founder of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring and former CEO of Perrigo, as its Spirit of Michigan award winner. The Spirit of Michigan award recognizes a person who epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit and understands the need to support entrepreneurialism from the ground up. Last year's recipient was Samuel Valenti III, chairman of the board of TriMas Corporation.
The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is an international business competition offering more than $1 million in cash awards designed to highlight Michigan as a robust and vibrant venue for innovation and business opportunity. The competition fuels innovation-based business growth by uncovering the best and brightest new business concepts from local and global entrepreneurs, exposing those opportunities to potential investment capital and fostering their growth within Michigan. The mission is focused on job creation, increased capital and statewide economic and resource development. The competition is a collaborative effort of the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, the New Economy Initiative, Business Leaders for Michigan, the University Research Corridor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. These groups have aligned their efforts to bolster and advance Michigan's entrepreneurial ecosystem through a variety of collaborative initiatives, including the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. For more information, visit www.acceleratemichigan.org.
SOURCE Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition