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Guest Blog: Lauren Bigelow, CEO, Growth Capital Network: 2015 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition – an opportunity too sweet to pass up.

By Posted on May 19, 2015

Lauren BigelowSecuring capital can be a tough task for entrepreneurs. While sources have diversified and expanded over recent years, success remains as elusive as ever. Outside capital is expensive and time consuming to raise. It also requires a ton of ingenuity. But with the right amount of preparation, you can beat the odds and access the capital your company needs to reach the next level. As you reach this stage, the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is here to help.

Accelerate Michigan is a global business competition where early stage companies can get great coaching, receive feedback from an international cadre of venture capitalists and network with top investors from across Michigan, the Midwest and North America. Up for grabs will be a $500,000 Grand Prize and total of $1 million in awards of cash and in-kind prizes.

As one of North America’s largest business competitions, this year’s event will see more than 80 venture and angel investors in attendance. You’ll have the chance to vastly increase your network and get timely reviews of your business model. Accelerate Michigan is also a great opportunity to learn from other firms seeking to grow their business. By attending, you are able to observe first-hand how the competing innovators present their story to the investment community, and walk away with valuable pointers that you can apply to your current or developing business idea. In the past five years, our winners and semi-finalist companies have raised capital in excess of $150,000,000.

At last year’s Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, NextEnergy partner ventures won $575,000 in awards, including Ann Arbor-based SkySpecs, who took home the competition’s top prize. NextEnergy supported each client through a number of services including demonstration projects, matchmaking and partnerships, and business consulting, specifically providing feedback on their business plan and pitch for the competition. In my experience, the most successful early stage companies pitching at Accelerate Michigan were active in soliciting feedback and open to coaching from organizations like NextEnergy.

Not sold on Accelerate Michigan yet? Here are six reasons you should join us:

1. Networking opportunities with local and national innovators and investors
2. National-scale keynotes
3. Business pitch pointers from competitors
4. A chance to perfect your storytelling
5. Meet potential coaches and mentors
6. Support innovation in Michigan

Join us in 2015 as Accelerate Michigan celebrates its 6th consecutive year of making the dreams of innovators like you a reality.

Applications open: Monday May 18
Applications due: Wednesday July 22
Notification by: Monday August 24
Onsite Competition: November 3-5 – Detroit, Michigan

Semi-finalists will need to be prepared to submit a 10 page business plan with 2 pages of financials by late September and have a 10 and 5 minute pitch prepared by October 30. All companies are required to participate in a presentation session in October 2015. For additional details and to apply, visit


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