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Michigan Business Challenge

About | Calendar/Apply | Prizes | 2015 Winners | Intercollegiate Competitions

The Michigan Business Challenge is a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition where student teams have the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling over $85,000, gain feedback from judges and expand their business network.

"Although we didn't quite make it to the finals, I know that the experience of designing and pitching a business plan was a highlight of the year so far for me. I think that I took away more applicable skills and insights from the MBC process than from any class that I have taken so far at U-M. Which is not to detract from the quality of teaching here -- but rather just to say that your support was instrumental in giving us some hands-on applications of business design and presentation. So, thanks again!"
- Alexander Mervak (MBA/MPP 17)

Round 1 (December 4) kicks off the competition where more than 80 teams from across campus are expected to compete. Any student that submits an application will be invited to compete in Round 1.

Round 2 (January 22), about 16-22 teams will advance from Round 1 to compete in this round.

Semi-Finals and Finals (February 19) teams will have the opportunity to write a marketing and financial overview for their company and complete a business plan.

During each round, teams will pitch to a panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs and investors.

Teams that advance to Round 2 will also be eligible for consideration to participate in intercollegiate business plan competitions and receive coaching and financial support from the Zell Lurie Institute to prep for and cover competition travel expenses.


  • The Michigan Business Challenge is open to all current UM undergraduate and graduate students. Teams may add or remove members throughout the competition.
  • At least one member of the student team must be the author of the business plan.
  • The proposed business may be for a consumer or industrial product or service. The business may be for-profit or non-profit, though most competitive businesses demonstrate high growth and/or large market potential.
  • Teams of students from different colleges within the University may submit a business plan. Only current UM Ann Arbor students may present the business before the judges, even if the team includes students from other campuses, different universities or non-students.


  • Buy-outs/turn-arounds, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing companies.
  • Ventures with revenue prior to the current academic year. Ventures that have raised equity capital from sources other than the members of the student team before the current academic year.
  • A business venture that reaches the Finals may not compete in future Michigan Business Challenges.


Michigan Business School