GLEQ Gives Awards Prizes

May 13, 2004
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ANN ARBOR — Nine cash prizes totaling $93,000 and professional services worth more than $40,000 were awarded to the winners of the Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest spring cycle competition this week, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The final judging was held at the University of Michigan Business School in Ann Arbor, where the best proposals were selected from throughout the state.

Ann-Arbor based SensiGen won the 2003-2004 GLEQ Grand Prize, which included $50,000 in cash and additional professional services. SensiGen’s business plan is to commercialize a non-invasive, gene-based molecular diagnostic that will detect kidney damage at its earliest stage in diabetes and hypertension.

“These winners represent the top rung of a very competitive group of business proposals,” said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. “The men and women behind these innovative ideas are the people that Gov. (Jennifer) Granholm and the MEDC are looking to as we work to build a 21st century economy for Michigan.”

Following are the major competition categories and winners:

Emerging Companies

First: SensiGen Corp. (Ann Arbor)

Second: Polytorx (Ann Arbor)

Third: Biopolymer Innovations (Kalamazoo)

New Business Ideas (East Region)

First: MetaFuel Technology (Ann Arbor)

Second: Pixel Velocity (Ann Arbor)

Third: Rapid Dry (Farmington Hills)

New Business Ideas (North/West Region)

First: The AST Group (East Lansing)

Second: Qtox (Okemos)

Third: TEC Publishing (Oscoda)

Sixty teams competed in the New Business Ideas category while 16 teams entered in the Emerging Companies category. The top three Emerging Companies winners received cash prizes of $50,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively. First, second and third place New Business Ideas winners were awarded $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500, respectively. All winners also received awards of donated professional services to assist in their business growth.

Independent judges evaluated business plans based on how well the teams responded to critical questions savvy business professionals ask about market potential, management structure, product or services offered and business plans.

“This year’s GLEQ was a spectacular display of Michigan entrepreneurship,” said David Brenner, GLEQ chair and managing partner of IdeaWorks LLC. “The Quest is an educational process to help Michigan entrepreneurs understand the merit of their business idea while learning the skills and developing the networks necessary to move forward on their business plan.”           

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