Meet the U-M Entrepreneurs Competing for $100,000 in Prizes

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Update - March 18

Calcium Solutions accepts their first place award.

Congratulations to Calcium Solutions! They won the Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business at the 2019 Michigan Business Challenge, taking home the $25,000 prize. The team is working on Plague-Busters, a safe and easy-to-use patent-pending medical device developed at the University of Michigan to improve the treatment of calcified, atherosclerotic plaques in cardiovascular peripheral arteries. The team is made up of student founders Robert Chisena, PhD ‘19; and Matthew Hildner, PhD ‘20.

Dear Black Women, an affirmation movement and social network, online and offline that grows the social capital of Black women, won the Seigle Impact Track top prize. Company founder Florence Noel, MBA/MSI ‘19, took home the $15,000 in that category.

See the full list of winners


Original story:

More than 100 U-M students participated in the early rounds of the 2019 Michigan Business Challenge, but after a few rounds of the annual business plan pitch competition, just 11 companies remain to vie for a piece of the $100,000 in prize money.

The challenge, which is sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute, gives teams the chance to win cash prizes, hear invaluable feedback from leaders in the business community, and expand their business network.

From a diverse group of student startups, the 11 remaining companies will pitch their businesses during the Michigan Business Challenge semi-final and final rounds later this week.

The judges for the 2019 Michigan Business Challenge—seasoned entrepreneurs and venture capital professionals—will select winners from the following pool of semi-finalists:

Acqua e Rosa
Student Founder: Mariam Jalloul, MBA/MPH ‘19

A Detroit-based luxury floral design brand specializing in one-of-a-kind, timeless, and elegant floral arrangements using signature acrylic boxes.
 

Bschool Travel
Student Founders
: Dale Jarosz and Dhruv Dhawan, MBAs ‘19

A tech-enabled travel outfitter looking to improve the end-to-end experience for MBA student travel.
 

Dough
Student Founders
: Catalina Kaiyoorawongs, MBA/MA EDU ‘19; Huyen Phan, MSI ‘19; Lauren Elbaum, MSI ‘19; and Kyle Durant, BSI ‘19

A digital loan advisor that simplifies student loans and personalizes recommendations on borrowing and repayment decisions from pre-matriculation through post-graduation. The company’s goal is to reduce debt burden and accelerate student loan payback.
 

Holly Keith Lingerie
Student Founder:
Holly Meyers, MBA ‘19

A luxury lingerie brand focused on providing high quality lingerie to larger busted women and innovating how women are sized for bras.
 

LineLeap
Student Founders:
Patrick Skelly, BA ‘19 and Nick Becker, BBA ‘20

Partnered with 40 popular nightlife venues in 15 different cities, LineLeap sells skip the line passes, general admission tickets, VIP packages, and drink specials on a proprietary mobile platform. LineLeap helps increase nightlife venues’ revenue and gives customers a platform where they can conveniently purchase all of these products in one place.
 

MONTA
Student Founder: Gabrielle de Coster, BBA ‘20

A bath, aroma, and skincare line inspired by the landscapes we call home. Drawing influence from mountain hikes and vast canyons, each product was born from a rich connection to nature; each captures a feeling and an experience. MONTA’s 100% natural beauty products invite the user to take time daily for stillness and self-care.
 

Plaque-Buster
Student Founders:
Robert Chisena, PhD ‘19; and Matthew Hildner, PhD ‘20

Team name: Calcium Solutions. A safe, efficacious, and easy-to-use patent-pending medical device developed at the University of Michigan to improve the treatment of calcified, atherosclerotic plaques in cardiovascular peripheral arteries.
 

SubQ Assist
Student Founder:
Vinayak Gokhale, MBA ‘19

A task-shifting device that facilitates the consistent and accurate administration of subcutaneous contraceptive implants thereby minimizing the likelihood of complications during removal and allowing minimally trained healthcare workers to provide safe access in rural areas.
 

Seigle Impact Track

The Seigle Impact Track of the Michigan Business Challenge, is presented by ZLI, Business + Impact at Ross, and the Erb Institute. The track honors businesses that best pursue a mission-driven goal. Four teams have advanced to the Finals of the Seigle Impact Track. The ventures with a social or environmental mission competing in this track include:

Dear Black Women
Student Founder:
Florence Noel, MBA/MSI ‘19

Dear Black Women is an affirmation movement and social network, online and offline that grows the social capital of Black women. Florence Noel, MBA/MSI ‘19
 

NeoHealth
Student Founders:
Sujai Arakali, BS ‘20, Derrell Chapman, BS ‘19

A company dedicated to eliminating counterfeit drugs in developing countries. It is estimated that over 1,000,000 people die each year solely due to counterfeit drugs. NeoHealth has developed a low-cost device that attaches to a phone and utilizes the camera to detect whether an antimalarial is counterfeit or authentic.
 

Practical Prosthetics
Student Founders:
Harrison Price, BSE ‘21; Joseph Schuman, BS ‘21; Ethan Russo, BBA ‘21, Anthony Salmeron, BSE ‘21

Practical Prosthetics integrates 3D printing in the prosthetic manufacturing process, developing functional prosthetics operated by an independent and intuitive control system. The technology necessary to make affordable and accessible prosthetics exists—Practical Prosthetics is simply putting it to use and challenging the stigma that prosthetics need to be complicated and expensive.
 

SubQ Assist
Student Founder:
Vinayak Gokhale, MBA ‘19

A task-shifting device that facilitates the consistent and accurate administration of subcutaneous contraceptive implants thereby minimizing the likelihood of complications during removal and allowing minimally trained healthcare workers to provide safe access in rural areas.

On March 15, the semi-finalists listed above will present their business plans for 15 minutes and will have 15 minutes to respond to questions from the judges. Four teams will be chosen by the judges to advance to the Finals later that afternoon. During the final round, finalists will discuss their businesses with the judges during a 25-minute interactive session.

More about The Michigan Business Challenge