LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Corps and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with local business and philanthropic partners, today announced the 2014 Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.

“Last year’s first Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge demonstrated a depth and breadth of entrepreneurial talent and social innovation happening at the local level across our state,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael Finney today at a press conference at TechTown Detroit. “We are looking, again this year, to bring the entrepreneurial mindset to bear on pressing social issues and putting a focus on ideas, action plans and energy into new ways to enhance quality of life in communities around our state and in particular, in Detroit and Flint.”

The Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge invites individuals and teams to submit plans for an emerging idea or existing venture with a sustainable solution to a clearly defined social problem in areas including, but not limited to, chronic unemployment, health and nutrition, the environment, urban revitalization, and education. Participants will compete for more than $60,000 in prizes. Competition finalists will be granted admission to Michigan Corps’ Impact Investment Fellowship, a four-month training institute to ready top social entrepreneurs for investment at and above the $50,000 level.

Beginning today, March 6, social entrepreneurs from across the state are invited to register for the competition. Applicants will be eligible to attend online classes, neighborhood tours, and networking events to support the development of their submission before the May 30, 2014 deadline. A statewide Social Entrepreneurship Showcase & Summit Event will take place in June to announce winners and celebrate social innovation across Michigan.

The Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge was launched in 2013 as a new strategy to discover and support the best innovative minds to design sustainable solutions to the state’s pressing social challenges. In its first year, the Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge attracted nearly 300 submissions and more than $1million in new financial commitments to invest in competition winners – grassroots entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to address joblessness, environmental issues, urban revitalization and more. To learn more about last year’s winners, visit http://michigancorps.org/The-Challenge/Fellows.aspx.

“The Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge offers a unique model to unleash one of our state’s most powerful assets – entrepreneurial citizens with credible solutions to address critical needs in our communities,” said Michigan Corps Executive Director Elizabeth Garlow, who leads the program.

In its second year, the Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge will offer prize tracks and networking programs specific to entrepreneurs seeking to launch or grow social ventures in the Detroit and Flint areas.

The 2014 Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge will feature prize tracks that include a combination of cash prizes, consultation services, and start-up resources. Lead program supporters include the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and New Economy Initiative. Prize sponsors include Consumers Energy, THAW, PNC Bank, Mission Throttle, Michigan Women’s Foundation, and St. John Providence Health System. Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, TechTown Detroit, Non-Profit Enterprise at Work, and D:hive will provide prize packages that include consultation services, training programs and collaborative work space.

“Participating in the Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge gave our work new visibility, access to incredibly supportive resources and relationships, and helped us really take things to the next level,” said Noam Kimelman, Co-founder of Fresh Corner Café, a mission-driven fresh food delivery and catering company formed in response to the troubling lack of access to high-quality healthy foods in Detroit, and the 2013 top prize winner.

To learn more and register for the competition, visit http://michigancorps.org/TheChallenge. All media inquiries should be directed to Elizabeth Garlow at egarlow@michigancorps.org or 313-451-1217.

Michigan Corps is a private non-profit organization that leads programs to discover, support and scale social innovation across the state. Michigan Corps believes that our communities are strengthened principally by networks of social-minded entrepreneurs and engaged citizens that are connected with one another and the resources to help make Michigan a better, vibrant place to live. For more information, visit www.michigancorps.org.

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org.


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