Social Entrepreneurship Challenge awards $93,000 in Prizes to 10 Michigan Social Entrepreneurs
Lansing, Mich., June 18, 2013 - Michigan Corps, in partnership with Great Lakes Entrepreneurs' Quest (GLEQ) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), hosted the state's first Social Entrepreneurship Showcase today as part of the nation's first statewide Social Entrepreneurship Challenge. The event, held at the James B. Henry Center in Lansing, featured pitches from the top six Challenge finalists, alongside an impact investing workshop sponsored by THAW and Consumers Energy, and networking sessions, all designed to build collaboration among an emerging network of social entrepreneurs across the state.
Six Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs Awarded MEDC-Sponsored Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Prizes
The top six teams competing for the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Prizes pitched their ideas to a panel of judges consisting of Michigan's top thought leaders in social entrepreneurship. Finalists were awarded first, second, and third place cash prizes in their respective categories based on a combined assessment of their written submissions and oral pitch.
Emerging Organizations Awards:
The Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Emerging Company awards included the $20,000 First Place award presented to Fresh Corner Cafe; the Second Place award of $15,000 was captured by Digital Inclusion; and the Third Place award of $5,000 was given to DIIME.
Fresh Corner Café
Fresh Corner Café is a mission-driven healthy food distributor working to ensure that all Detroiters can easily access an affordable & delicious healthy meal. By connecting an expansive network of strong neighborhood stores with a burgeoning local food supply, Fresh Corner Café's model reduces barriers, uplifts existing assets, and targets neighborhoods with the most need. The award was presented to founder and CEO Noam Kimelman.
Digital Inclusion (DI) is a computer refurbishment, technical support and technical training program operated by Eastern Michigan University's The B. Side, a 501c3 in Ypsilanti that is dedicated to incubating ideas and projects of youth to foster a culture of entrepreneurship. DI's award was accepted by Jack Bidlack, Director at The Business Side of Youth.
DIIME is dedicated to combating maternal and infant health disparities in low-resource settings through the design and commercialization of appropriate, locally affordable, innovative devices. DIIME's primary focus is on the development of Hemafuse, an autologous blood transfusion device designed for use during cases of ruptured ectopic pregnancy. The award was received by DIIME CEO Gillian Henker.
New Enterprise Idea Awards:
The Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship New Enterprise Idea awards included, the $5,000 First Place award presented to Java Hope Project; the Second Place award of $3,000 captured by Michigan Garment District; and the Third Place award of $2,000 was given to RNS Packaging.
Java Hope Project
The Java Hope Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women break the cycle of poverty through business development. Through our extensive small-business skills training program, the Java Hope Project empowers individuals to own and operate their own coffee cart businesses. The award was accepted by founder Brenda Moore.
Michigan Garment District
The Michigan Garment District (MGD) brings Michigan-made goods to market by altering lives as well as fabrics and materials. It provides domestic garment manufacturing for Michigan designers as well as additional manufacturing services through training and employing under-employed populations. The award was presented to co-founder Patty Yagerlener.
RNS Packaging is a veteran-owned, Michigan based company that provides premium, customized packaging for consumers and retailers. FunPak Brand of packaging is a 100% Bio-degradable Pet, People and Planet friendly American made packaging. The award was accepted by Rich Daniels, President & Founder of RNS Packaging.
The six Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship awards were presented by Rishi Jaitly, Founder and Chair of Michigan Corps.
Two ‘Fostering Energy Affordability' Awards, sponsored by THAW and Consumers Energy
The ‘Fostering Energy Affordability' awards, sponsored by The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) and Consumers Energy, included a $10,000 award to an Emerging Company, presented to EcoIntelligent Homes and; $5,000 award to a New Enterprise Idea presented to ReSource Fund.
Since Ecotelligent Homes was founded in 2009 they have been preforming RESNET and BPI certified home energy audits and installing energy efficiency improvements to help countless Metro Detroit homeowners improve the comfort of their home, reduce their utility costs, and lessen their environmental impact. After earning the Association of Energy Engineers Certified Energy Manager (CEM) designation in the spring of 2012 they expanded into the commercial sector with Ecotelligent Buildings. Their commercial energy audits help small to medium size business owners improve their energy efficiency with cash flow positive investments. The award was presented to Owner/Chief Energy Engineer, Amanda Godward.
ReSource Fund's mission is to serve low-income communities in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area with equitable financial services. ReSource Fund offers a one-on-one Financial Coaching Program that entails a year-long relationship between a University of Michigan student coach and a client. The award was accepted by founders Sripriya Navalpakam and Neeru Kannan.
The ‘Fostering Energy Affordability' awards were presented by Susan Sherer, CEO of THAW and Joe Eckert, Manager, Customer Experience and Operations at Consumers Energy.
The Millennial Social Innovation Prize, sponsored by The Magic Johnson Foundation
The Millennial Social Innovation Prize was awarded to a millennial entrepreneur (young adult born between the years 1976 and 1996) who demonstrates promise for bringing about positive change in Michigan through a sustainable business model. The $3,000 award was presented to Patronicity.
Patronicity is a localized crowdfunding platform that supports building vibrant communities by connecting small businesses, organizations & events with patrons and sponsors to help them grow, one project at a time. The award was presented by Rishi Jaitly, Founder and Chair of Michigan Corps, to Chris Blauvelt, Founder and CEO of Patronicity.
The Community Ventures Award, sponsored by the MEDC
The Community Ventures prize is a $25,000 award to a social entrepreneur impacting structural unemployment in Detroit, Flint, Pontiac or Saginaw. The prize was awarded to Vanguard Property Preservation Enterprise (PPE). The Vanguard PPE is an initiative of the Vanguard Community Development Corporation, which provides job opportunities for unemployed Detroiters, particularly citizens returning from prison, through the cleaning and maintenance of private-owner eviction and foreclosed properties. The Community Ventures Award was presented to Natosha Tallman, Program Manager at Vanguard CDC by Paula Sorrell, Managing Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at MEDC.
The Spirit of Social Entrepreneurship Award
Rebel Nell L3C was awarded The Spirit of Social Entrepreneurship Award for their embodiment of the vision, commitment and tenacity present in the best Social Entrepreneurs around the world. The award was accepted by co-founder Amy Peterson.
About Michigan Corps
Michigan Corps empowers Michigan's citizens everywhere to connect and collaborate on social innovation in communities across our state.
Toward this end, Michigan Corps has launched Kiva Michigan, the country's first citizen-to-citizen micro-lending initiative, and the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, the country's first statewide competition in social entrepreneurship. Through these and other initiatives, Michigan Corps creates a welcoming environment for all citizens to participate in leading positive social change across our state.
Learn more about the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge at michigancorps.org/TheChallenge
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