Programs & Funds

Michigan Business Challenge

The Michigan Business Challenge (MBC) is a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition where student teams have the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling over $100,000, gain feedback from leaders in the business community, and expand their business network.

MBC takes participants through the entire cycle of new venture creation from creating a strong pitch to conducting a marketing and financial assessment and writing a comprehensive business plan. The competition kicks off in November with more than 100 teams competing in the qualifying round and concludes in February with four competing teams in each of the track finals. MBC boasts three separate tracks including the Seigle Impact Track.

During each round, teams will pitch to a new 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.

In addition to hosting the competition, the Zell Lurie Institute facilitates startup workshops to help prepare student teams for the deliverables due for each round of the competition. Workshop presentations and handouts are posted on the Zell Lurie Institute Canvas site under Startup Workshops.

Qualifying Round (November 12-13) kicks off the competition where more than 100 teams from across campus are expected to compete. Any student that submits a complete application will be invited to compete in the Qualifying Round. Teams will give a three-minute pitch (no slides) to a panel of judges followed by three minutes to answer questions. Approximately 60 teams will be chosen to advance to Round 1.

Round 1 (November 22)  Approximately  60 teams in three tracks will give a three-minute pitch (no slides) to a new panel of judges followed by four minutes to answer questions. Sixteen to twenty teams will be chosen to advance to Round 2. 

Round 2 (January 24), about 16-22 teams will advance from Round 1 to compete in this round. Competing teams give a seven-minute presentation that describes their company's solution to a pressing market need or pain, an estimation of the market size, and their financial assumptions. This is followed by ten minutes of questions from the judges. Twelve teams will be chosen to advance to the finals. 

Finals (February 21) teams will complete a business plan. Finalists present their business plans for 15 minutes and will have 15 minutes to respond to questions from the judges. One winner will be chosen by the judges in each track. The winner from each track will compete for an additional prize. 

Team Showcase (February 21) All finalist teams will display information about their ventures and talk with guests from the region. 

Michigan business challenge eligibility and application process

Seigle Impact Track

The Michigan Business Challenge Seigle Impact Track, with prizes totaling over $26,000, recognizes the business plan that best pursues a mission-driven goal. This award aims to stimulate the creation of new businesses, products or services that prioritize social and/or environmental considerations. This track of the competition is sponsored by the Mark and Robin Seigle Entrepreneurial Innovation Fund and co-managed by Business + Impact at Ross, the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, and the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. 

Eligibility & Exclusions


  • The Michigan Business Challenge is open to all current U-M Ann Arbor 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 U-M Ann Arbor students may present the business before the judges, even if the team includes students from other campuses, different universities or non-students.

  • Current U-M students must own significant equity in the venture and must hold major positions within the startup. 


  • 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 significant 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.

Prizes & Past Winners

Prizes & Past Winners

2019 Winners Include: 

Calcium Solutions, Pryor-Hale award for best business for $25,000 as well as the new Michigan Investment Challenge (MIC) Investment for $2,000 and one of two Best Presentation Awards. Robert Chisena (PhD ‘19) and Matthew Hildner (PhD ‘20). 
Holly Keith Lingerie, Pryor-Hale Runner-up award for Best Business for $10,000, and one of two Marketing Awards, sponsored by Marketing Associates, for $2,500. Holly Meyers (MBA ‘19).

Dear Black Women, Seigle Impact Track Grand Prize of $15,000. Florence Noel (MBA/MSI ‘19).

Practical Prosthetics, Seigle Impact Track Runner-up for $7,500, the Sillman Award for Best Undergraduate Team for $5,000, and the Williamson Award for Outstanding Cross-Functional Team for $5,000. Harrison Price (BSE ‘21), Joseph Schuman (BS ‘21), Ethan Russo (BBA ‘21), and Anthony Salmeron (BSE ‘21). 

NeoHealth, Small Giants Positive Organizing Award for $2,500 and the Best Showcase Award.  Sujai Arakali (BS ‘20) and Derrell Chapman (BS ‘19). 
Acqua e Rosa, took home the second of two Best Presentation Awards. Mariam Jalloul (MBA/MPH ‘19).
Eastern Bazaar, was awarded the second of two Marketing Awards, sponsored by Marketing Associates, for $2,500.


2018 Winners Include: 

Clot Buster, Pryor-Hale award for best business for $25,000, and one of two Outstanding Presentation awards for $2,000. Luis Savastano, M.D., Yihao Zheng (PhD ‘16), Jeffrey Plott (PhD ‘17), and Joshua Cockrum (BS ‘16).

MedKairos Inc., Pryor-Hale Runner-Up Award for $10,000 as well as one of the two Outstanding Presentation awards for $2,000. Michael Moore (MD ’21) and Andy Kozminski (MSE ’19, MD ’20).

Advanced LIDAR Semantics (ALISE), $2,500 finalist award. Sanmeet Jasuja (MBA/MSI ’18), Brian Shahbazian (MS ’18), Ryan Branch (BSE ’18) and Minjeong Cha (PhD).

PedalCell, $15,000 Seigle Impact Track first place and a $2,000 Outstanding Presentation Award. Adam Hokin (BBA ’19) and Anna Moreira Bianchi (MBA ’19).

Canopy, $7,500 Seigle Impact Track runner-up award and the second place Elevator Pitch Award for $250, Ann Duong (MHI ’18) and Brandon Keelean (MDes ’18).

FoodFinder, $2,500 Seigle Impact Track finalist award and a first place Elevator Pitch Award for another $500. Jack Griffin (BBA ’19).


2017 Winners Include:

SAHI Cosmetics,  Pryor-Hale award for best business for $25,000, and one of two Outstanding Presentation awards for $2,000.  Sheleen Sahi  (MBA ’17).
proteinbits, Pryor-Hale Runner-up award for Best Business for $10,000, Most Successful Undergraduate team award for $2,500, one of two  Outstanding Presentation awards $2,000, and one of two Marketing Awards, sponsored by the Marketing Associates, for $2,500. Ellis Fried (BA ’17)

AIM Tech,  Seigle Impact Track Grand Prize Winner $15,000, and one of two Marketing Awards, sponsored by the Marketing Associates, for $2,500. Stephen John (MD ’19) and Aaron Steiner (MBA ’17)
Sage & Grace, Seigle Impact Track Runner-up award $7,500. Holly Price (MBA ’17)
Carrycott, Williamson Award for $5,000 for the most successful business and engineering team. Benjamin Eu (BSE ’19), Jolene Ng (BSE ’18) and Natalie Shepich (BBA ’19)
Find Your Ditto, third place in the Seigle Impact Track, $2,500. Parisa Soraya (MHI’17)
Morning Brew, Best Written Plan award for $2,000. Austin Rief (BBA ’17)


2016 Winners Include: 

PreDxion Bio, Pryor-Hale award for best business for $25,000, and the Williamson Award for $5,000 for the most outstanding business and engineering team. Represented by Caroline Landau (MBA '16) and Walker McHugh (MSE '17).

Gaudium, Pryor-Hale Runner-up award for Best Business for $10,000, the Best Written Plan award for $2,000, and one of two Marketing Awards, sponsored by the Marketing Associates, for $2,500. The Gaudium team, is comprised of David Cai (BS '16), Amanda Li (MAcc '16), and Kevin Jeon (BA '16).
Kulisha, Social Impact Track Grand Prize. Represented by CoFounder Eric Katz (BBA '17). 
StepFor, Social Impact Track Runner Up. Team members include Jordan Golshan (BBA ’17), Andy Jinseok Lee (MS ’17), and Josh Hyorim Kim (BS ’17). 
AOE Medical, Most Successful Undergraduate team award for $2,500 and one of two Outstanding Presentation awards for $2,000. Represented by Arianna Carley (BSE '17), Eli Fox, (BA '17), Christina Tang (BS '18), and Brandon Boot (BSE '17).
Sage & Grace, Outstanding Presentation award for $2,000. Founder Holly Price (MBA '17).
CARt, Marketing Award, sponsored by Marketing Associates, for $2,500. Represented by Ali Jensen (MPH '16), Stacey Matlen (MPH '16), Christine Priori (MBA/MPH '17), Mikaela Rodkin (MBA/MS '17).




Application Deadline
The deadline for the Michigan Business Challenge was Monday, November 4, 2019. Applications have closed for the 2020 Michigan Business Challenge. 

Information Session

The 2021 Michigan Business Challenge information session will be held in the fall semester of 2020. Please check back for further details. 

Michigan business challenge - schedule