Sunday, November 21, 2010

SA Company in running for worlds largest business plan competition

A South African company is still in the running at the worlds largest business plan competition taking place in the US. Entrepreneurs are making use of the latest in business plan software technology to facilitate the planning process as competition this year is especially fierce.

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition has announced the names of 50 companies that are semi-finalists for over $1 million in business finance awards at stake.
The competition, which kicked off in late August and ends in December, is aimed at growing Michigan business and putting the state — especially Southeast Michigan — on the map for venture capitalists and other investors.
The semi-finalists are listed under the “company competition” tab at
They include entries from a variety of industries: alternative energy, medical devices, next generation manufacturing, life sciences, advanced transportation, defense and homeland security, information technology and advanced materials.
Billed as the world’s largest business plan competition for first- and second-stage companies, the contest drew about 570 entries, most from Michigan businesses and students.
But entries came from every region of the U.S. and even from Canada, Switzerland and the Western Cape of South Africa, according to Ann Arbor Spark, which is administering the competition on behalf of the Business Accelerator Network. Companies who receive cash awards are committed to located in Michigan.
The network also counts Detroit-based TechTownAutomation Alley in Auburn Hills andMacomb-Oakland University Incubator among its members.
A $750,000 grant from the New Economy Initiative is funding the competition, along with $250,000 through the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund managed by Ann Arbor Spark, $100,000 from Business Leaders for Michigan and more than $100,000 in sponsorships.
Sponsors for the first year include Business Leaders for Michigan and the University Research Corridor through Accelerate Michigan, DTE Energy Co., Ford Motor Co., Strategic Staffing SolutionsButzel Long PC and University of Michigan Health System.
The financial support will fund 17 awards, including a single cash grant of $500,000 to one early- or second-stage company.
The business plan competition will culminate with an "elevator speech" contest, open to the public, on Dec. 11 at UM, the same day as the UM/MSU "Big Chill" outdoor hockey game at Michigan Stadium.
Judges for the competition include angel investors, venture capitalists and other professional investors, many of them alumni of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University andWayne State University

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