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More Than $60,000 in Prizes for Entrepreneurs Helping Low-Income Residents Be More Independent

JACKSON, MI – More than $60,000 in prizes will be up for grabs to entrepreneurs who have the best solutions to help Michigan’s low-income residents become more self-sufficient.
Michigan Corps has launched the second annual Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge to encourage individuals and teams to submit their plans and ideas to tackle social issues, such as chronic unemployment, health and nutrition, the environment, urban revitalization and education.

The challenge will offer prizes and networking programs for entrepreneurs seeking to launch or grow social projects in the Detroit and Flint areas. “The Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge has shown us the depth and breadth of entrepreneurial talent and social innovation happening across our state at a local level”, Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said in an announcement this week. “We are thrilled to see numerous partners come alongside us in 2014 to draw in and elevate entrepreneurs working to enhance quality of life in communities around our state and in particular, in Detroit and Flint.”

Consumers Energy and The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) are co-sponsoring the $5,000 “Community Transformation” prize as part of the challenge. Consumers and THAW are looking for individuals and nonprofits across Michigan that are working with businesses to better their communities. The prize is for innovative solutions – products, services or technologies – to help low-income people and communities become more self-reliant. "We are thrilled to support the development of innovative ideas in the social sector, especially collaborations that improve quality of life for those living in at risk communities," said Patti Poppe, vice president of customer experience, rates and regulation at Consumers Energy. The winner will get a $5,000 cash grant and admission to Michigan Corps’ Impact Investment Fellowship, valued at $15,000.

Entrepreneurs can register now for the competition. Applicants will be eligible to attend online classes, neighborhood tours and networking events to support the development of their plans before the May 30 deadline.

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