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Michigan Business Challenge - Prizes

About | Calendar/Apply | Prizes | 2015 Winners | 2014-15 Intercollegiate Competitions

The Zell Lurie Institute is pleased to announce that for the 2016 Michigan Business challenge, the award pool is over $85,000. It is possible for a team to win awards in more than one category.

These awards are made possible by generous donations from Millard and Mary Pryor, Marketing Associates, Bud Williamson, the Clayton G. Hale Endowment Fund, the Erb Institute, the Center for Social Impact, the University of Michigan Office of Research.

Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business: $25,000
This grand prize is awarded to the team that the judges feel is most likely to succeed, most likely to have the largest success, and has the most viable business. A runner-up business team will also be identified and will receive $10,000.

Judges decide these awards by using a variety of factors. They consider the market opportunity that is presented and whether the team has a clear path to take advantage of that market, along with the competitive advantage for that business. The judges also evaluate the teams' management capability to see if the team has the skill to advance the company and handle the risks of the venture. Finally, the judges analyze the financial strategy of the business to determine if this would be a worthwhile venture for a firm to invest in.

Social Impact Track Winner: $15,000
Social Impact Track Runner-up: $7,500
This new track is presented in partnership with the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute and the Center for Social Impact. The goal of this award is to stimulate the creation of new businesses, products or services that prioritize social and/or environmental considerations. The award recognizes the business plan that best pursues a mission-driven goal through its product/service offerings and underlying operations of the firm; the firm may be either for- or not-for-profit.

    The winning teamís plan will:

  • Clearly identify the social/environmental issue
  • Articulate the target population served
  • Identify the social impact outcomes and key metrics
  • Build a financially sustainable business model
Teams must enter the multistage Michigan Business Challenge in the fall and also submit a one-page Statement of Social Impact.

Williamson Award for Cross-Functional Teams: $5,000
This award is for the most successful team with at least one currently enrolled Ross School of Business student and one currently enrolled College of Engineering student. To be considered for this award, teams need to write a one-page Management Team Overview that details the roles and skills of the team members and submit it when the Market and Financial Overview is due in early January. Teams apply for the award in Round Two and the most successful cross-functional team within the competition will receive the award. There are no additional presentation or documentation requirements for this award.

Marketing Award sponsored by Marketing Associates (2 awards): $2,500
The Marketing Award, sponsored by Marketing Associates, will be awarded to up to two teams that compete in Round 2 of the Michigan Business Challenge. The award will recognize the teams that most effectively identify their markets, understand the market needs, and present how the company will address those needs and deliver a product or service offering.  Awardees will convince judges that they can reach their market and deliver value to the customers in an effective manner. A full marketing strategy is not required, but a full understanding of the dynamics of the market is.

Most Successful Undergraduate Team: $2,500
This award is for the most successful team made up exclusively of undergraduate students. To be considered for this award, teams need to indicate they are eligible for this award in an email message when the Market and Financial Overview is submitted in early January. There are no additional presentation or documentation requirements for this award.

Best Written Plan: $2,000
A well-written business plan often serves as a persuasive case for potential business partners and funders to support the business. In recognition of this important function, this award focuses on the research and presentation of the business plan document and de-emphasizes the viability of the business.

The Institute will evaluate the business plans submitted for the Semi-finals and choose the winner of this award. The evaluation of the submitted business plans is based on the presentation and communication of the relevant aspects of the business, including: product description, competitive strategy, financial selection, management, discussion of the risks and the contingency plan, etc.

Outstanding Presentation (2 awards): $2,000
These awards recognize that the skills needed to sway a skeptical audience of potential business partners are invaluable when an entrepreneur moves the business forward. One team from each semi-final track will receive this award. Judges will evaluate the presentations based on the presenters' style and the content of the presentation. Specifically, the judges will be looking to see if the team can maintain the judges' interest while relating the need for the company. The team's ability to respond enthusiastically to difficult questions is also considered. While critiquing these facets of the presentation, the judges should be able to understand what market is being addressed, the problem being solved, what the fund raising strategy is, what the valuation is, the teams upcoming milestones, etc.

Participation Awards
To reward competing team efforts throughout the competition, the following participation awards are also distributed:

  • Teams that advance from Round One and compete in Round Two receive $200
  • Teams that advance from Round Two and compete in the Semi-finals receive an additional $300
  • Teams that compete in the Semi-finals, but do not advance, receive a total of $500, as mentioned above, plus any additional larger award (e.g. Outstanding Presentation)
  • Teams that compete in the finals, but do not receive a larger award, receive $1,000 in addition to the $500 mentioned above
Michigan Business School