Report Index


Skill in business planning is essential for a successful company launch. Students are taught how to “operationalize” a business, not just create a document.

Developing the Skill   Multidisciplinary Entrepreneurial Management & New Venture Creation Courses
Dare to Dream Integration Grants up to $10,000
Michigan Business Challenge (final rounds)
TechArb Accelerator
Michigan Growth Capital Symposium

“Think Green” Award Winner

Paul Davis, MBA/MS ’11, and Robert Levine, PhD ’13, Co-founders, ReGenerate Solutions

One day soon, supermarkets and cafeterias may convert food scraps and leftovers into biogas for powering on-site hot-water heaters using an innovative “eco-dumpster” developed by ReGenerate Solutions. The start-up company, launched in 2009 by four Michigan graduate students, is perfecting its Compact Organic Waste Station (COWS), which utilizes anaerobic digestion to turn food waste into a methane-rich gas and organic-compost product. “We are currently raising financing in order to hire additional engineers, cultivate customer relationships and move from a one-fifth-scale prototype to a full COWS system by 2012,” explains Paul Davis, MBA/MS ’11. The four students met through the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the College of Engineering’s Better Living Using Engineering laboratory, or BLUE LAB. With dovetailing interests in waste management and renewable energy generation, Robert (“Bobby”) Levine, PhD ’13, Nolan Orfield, PhD ’13, Hunt Briggs, MBA/MS ’11 and Davis quickly formed a team to develop and commercialize eco-dumpsters. They tapped the entrepreneurial resources of the Zell Lurie Institute, the Ross School and the College of Engineering, as they proceeded through the design, assessment and planning phases of business creation. ReGenerate amassed a considerable war chest by winning the $100,000 “Think Green” investment prize at the 2011 Rice University Business Plan Competition, as well as a $10,000 Dare to Dream integration- phase grant, a $7,500 U-M Dow Sustainability Award and a $10,000 runner-up prize at the Michigan Business Challenge. “The CleanTech Entrepreneurship course taught by Institute faculty members Timothy Faley and Peter Adriaens hooked me on entrepreneurship,” Levine says. “Paul Kirsch, the Institute’s associate director, was an excellent coach who helped us develop our business model, refine our pitch and shape our commercialization plan.”