Q&A: Hear From Eight Michigan Ross All-Star Student Athletes on U-M’s Powerhouse Sports Teams this Year

It certainly is not easy playing for a Big Ten sports team at the University of Michigan while also attending a top-ranked degree program at the Ross School of Business.

Nevertheless, dozens of Michigan Ross students prove that it is possible to excel in both athletics and academics each year. In addition, the Ross student athletes say they are able to translate their classroom learning to their athletic performance, team leadership, and communication.

Included in this article is Erik Portillo, a BBA ’23 who will play in the NHL after graduation, and has been working with the +Impact Studio founders’ business Dualete, which partners college athletes with school-age athletes to encourage mental health awareness.

Read full article on Michigan Ross website

Working with Inspiring Business Owners in Detroit through DNEP +Impact Studio for Local Business

By Grace Aretakis (BBA ’24)

As the daughter of a female business owner, and the granddaughter of a first generation immigrant who came to Detroit to start his own enterprise, small businesses have been a central part of my family and life thus far. Through the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project +Impact Studio for Local Business internship, I have the privilege of working closely with driven entrepreneurs who are paving the way for  success for both their families and communities. 

My name is Grace Aretakis and I am a sophomore undergraduate student, studying Business Administration at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. After a little over a week in my internship, I find myself immersed in an environment that has allowed me to grow, explore my curiosities, and learn from the remarkable small business owners we have the honor of working with.  

Our first meeting with the initial set of clients set the tone for this internship. Our first two clients are two women who have centered their entrepreneurial visions around their dedication to the Detroit community. Not only are these business owners impressive for their entrepreneurial ambition, but also for their selflessness. They value the growth of their businesses for the growth it will foster in their community. What struck me from this meeting was how intertwined the goals of these businesses are with the needs of the community. When we went to visit the site of one of these businesses, I noticed that each interaction Felicia had with her customers was fueled by generosity and love. I am especially enthused to learn this summer by observing the passion and care these business owners have for the people they serve. 

Felicia Maxwell, Owner of Fit 4 Life in Detroit, led the Open Road team in a workout during our time with her.

In my short time so far, I have also learned how many roles the title of “business owner” truly encompasses. These women do not just hold the title of founder of their business, but accountant, marketer, maintenance, tech support, researcher, employee, employer, and the list goes on. Not only do they hold these many titles relating to their business, they also hold the responsibilities of mother/father, mentor, teacher, provider, and the list goes on. Understanding the many pressures and responsibilities these entrepreneurs face made me recognize what a responsibility and privilege we as students have in this internship. We have the opportunity to use the resources and training provided by DNEP +ISLB to take ownership of one of these titles to take this weight off of the owner. If we can take over “accountant” or “marketer”, and implement a solution that will free this burden, we can enable further success and growth for these business owners.

Felicia Maxwell passes a plate with ease as she directs our workout at Fit 4 Life in Detroit.

As we are introduced to new projects in the upcoming weeks, I look forward to soaking in the many additional lessons I will learn from the owners we work with, the challenges we tackle, and the talented student interns around me. This opportunity has allowed me to assess where I can grow as a business student and a member of a team. In such a short time, I already see myself becoming a more effective communicator and team member. By the end of this program, I look forward to seeing growth in myself along with the growth that we stimulate in the business we work with. Thank you to all who have made this rewarding opportunity possible. I cannot wait to see the impact we make during these upcoming weeks.

Great Quality Developments Wins Michigan Business Challenge Seigle Impact Track

Ann Arbor, February 26, 2021 – The winner of the 2021 Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track is Great Quality Developments (click to learn more) – (Hattie McKinney, BA ’16, JD ’22) a community focused, mixed-use development company that specializes in integrative developments that increase affordable housing, homeownership, and community resources in Detroit, MI. The Seigle Impact Track competition, co-sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute and Business+Impact, began in November with 40 teams. Eight semi-finalists competed on Fri, Jan. 21 for the four finalist spots in the Seigle finals competition.

Other finalists included:

Clear Computing (click to learn more): Private tech lessons and in-home tech support to help older adults use their devices independently and confidently. James Giordani, MSW ’22

Seconds Labs (click to learn more): A novel, performance-boosting whole-food beverage, leveraging an underutilized “superfood” as our key ingredient – the fruit surrounding coffee beans, for an offering that promotes a healthy lifestyle and environmental sustainability. Matt Baker, WMBA ’22; Claire Bissa, WMBA ’22; Austin Clowes, WMBA ’22

WILD (click to learn more): The funeral industry is highly fragmented, outdated, and offers little to no transparency. WILD is an all-in-one digital platform that combines technology and human support to save people time, money, and stress when experiencing or preparing for the loss of a loved one. Maura McInerney-Rowley, MBA ’22

Great Quality Developments received $15,000 for first place in the Seigle Impact Track.  Clear Computing was the second place winner of the Seigle Impact Track, and received $7,500 as well as $500 in the Elevator Pitch Competition. Seconds Labs and Wild were the 3rd and fourth place finishers in the Seigle Impact Track and won $1500 each, and both won $250 each in the Elevator Pitch competition. All participants in the Seigle Impact Track finals received at least $250 for pitching in the finals.

BotNot won the $15k first prize in the Innovation Track, while Medvision won the $15k first prize in the Invention Track. BotNot also won the $2k MIC Investment Award and the $5k OneMagnify Best in Business Award.

In Great Quality Developments’ presentation, they drew attention to the affordable housing crisis in Detroit and their desire to provide residents with a pathway to actively participate in the development of their neighborhoods. Housing is a highly determinative aspect in a person’s life; it influences a person’s financial, medical, and educational outcomes. To that end, Great Quality Developments was inspired to increase opportunities for Detroit residents to engage in placemaking and neighborhood development.

An expert judging panel of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial specialists were brought on by Zell Lurie Institute for the Michigan Business Challenge. The Challenge is a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition, of which the Seigle Impact Track is a subset focused on entrepreneurial student ventures focused on social  and/or environmental impact.  The competition is open to all students of the University of Michigan, and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. 

Interviews with MBC-Seigle Impact Track Finalists for 2022

On Fri, Jan. 21, eight student teams competed in the third round of the 2022 Michigan Business Challenge (MBC) through a virtual platform. The competition was fierce, and the judges had a very difficult job to do.

Panels of esteemed judges from the entrepreneurial ecosystem were given the difficult task of winnowing down the 8 teams to just 4 that will advance in the competition. We are happy to announce the teams awarded the chance to compete in the MBC Finals on Fri, Feb. 11.

MBC Seigle Impact Track Finalists

The MBC Seigle Impact Track recognizes the business that best pursues a mission-driven goal and aims to stimulate the creation of new businesses, products or services that prioritize social and/or environmental considerations. The teams moving forward in this track include the following (read an interview with each team by clicking on the team name): 

Clear Computing: Private tech lessons and in-home tech support to help older adults use their devices independently and confidently. James Giordani, MSW ’22

Great Quality Developments: Great Quality Developments is a social-impact driven mixed-use development company that specializes in integrative models that increase affordable housing, homeownership, and community resources in Detroit, MI. Hattie McKinney, J.D. ’22

Seconds Labs: A novel, performance-boosting whole-food beverage, leveraging an underutilized “superfood” as our key ingredient – the fruit surrounding coffee beans, for an offering that promotes a healthy lifestyle and environmental sustainability. Matt Baker, WMBA ’22; Claire Bissa, WMBA ’22; Austin Clowes, WMBA ’22

WILD (Whether in Life or Death): The funeral industry is highly fragmented, outdated, and offers little to no transparency. WILD is an all-in-one digital platform that combines technology and human support to save people time, money, and stress when experiencing or preparing for the loss of a loved one. Maura McInerney-Rowley, MBA ’22

The MBC Innovation Track recognizes new ventures that offer a product, service, mobile application, or platform serving consumers or enterprises. The MBC Invention Track recognizes ventures that have intellectual property at the core of their high-tech venture and aims to stimulate the creation of new businesses in life sciences, physical sciences, mobility, AR/VR, and more.

Over the next few weeks, these student teams will continue to fine-tune their business plans for a chance at over $100,000 in cash prizes. Stay connected with the 2021 campus-wide competition through the ZLI website.

The Michigan Business Challenge is a multi-round competition for students from across 19 schools and colleges at the University of Michigan. MBC focuses on entrepreneurial teams testing real-world business concepts through engaging in customer discovery, vetting financial models, conducting market research, and developing a complete business plan. Throughout the competition, students have the opportunity to gain feedback from leaders in the entrepreneurial and venture investment community–allowing them to expand their business network.

WILD: Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Finalist

Who are the team members?

Maura McInerney-Rowley, MBA ’22

Tell us briefly about your business idea.

WILD (Whether in Life or Death) alleviates the burden (and reduces the friction) typically involved in handling a loved one’s affairs after they have passed. Our personalized funeral plans and easy-to-use platform empowers families to save time, money, and stress.

What was the origin of this venture?

Maura faced reality and the possibility of death at five years old when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After that, Maura watched as her mother continued to battle and beat breast cancer throughout her childhood until her mother passed right before her 21st birthday.

Maura struggled to navigate friends, work, and school while managing her grief, but she found momentary solace in a student grief group on campus. As time passed, Maura’s friends started to experience losses of pets, colleagues, grandparents, etc. Having gone through the experience before, she was able to empathize and help them navigate through their grief.

Last summer, Maura attended a friend’s wedding, where the night before, a guest of the wedding died. The death was unexpected and traumatic, which made Maura think about how the family would navigate their grief, let alone the logistics of it all. The day after the wedding, Maura flew to Alaska and spent the next week hiking in the backcountry contemplating the recent loss and reflecting on the loss of her mother.

One day as she was climbing the face of a rock in 30mph winds, 40-degree weather, and torrential rain, she noticed a beautiful purple flower (later identified as a harebell) standing steady. She thought to herself how magnificent this tiny thing was, so resilient in these extreme conditions all by itself. As she stopped to look at the flower, the rain started to dissipate, and a clearing in the sky let through the most magnificent sun-drenched view of Denali. Maura paused briefly, sat down in awe of her surroundings, and thought about how peaceful it would be to have your final moments in a place like this.

Days later, she returned to business school at The University of Michigan and was prompted to develop a business idea in her New Venture Creation class. It was then that the initial concept for WILD was born.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of launching your venture?

In the long-term WILD aims to have three positive effects on society; (1) social, (2) environmental, and (3) financial.

First, studies show that talking about your mortality makes you happier. By changing the discourse on death and dying, WILD empowers individuals to talk and plan for end-of-life. Second, by offering unique and eco-friendly solutions, WILD will help combat climate change and reduce the harmful effects traditional burials and cremation have on the environment. Third, by focusing on radical transparency and easy-to-access information, tools, and resources, WILD will help reduce predatory practices in the funeral industry and save individuals money.

How did you form your team?

I am a solo founder with a fantastic group of mentors and interns supporting me. I am currently seeking a tech co-founder.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the MBC experience (so far)?

It takes a lot of work to start a company! You must be comfortable asking for help, receiving negative feedback, and tackling ambiguous challenges.

What are your plans following MBC? How would prize money help your venture?

Following MBC, I will continue to build WILD to help people during one of the most challenging times of their life. I plan to participate in phase three of the Eugene Applebaum Dare to Dream grant program and conduct an independent study on the topic of death and dying with Ross Professor Dr. Marcus Collins, an award-winning marketer, and cultural translator.

If I win MBC, I will use the prize money to build an MVP to test with users.

What advice do you have for other student entrepreneurs?

Join Twitter and DM me (@mauraball_) once you have.

Great Quality Developments: Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Finalist

Who are the team members?

Hattie McKinney, BA ’16, JD ’22

Tell us briefly about your business idea.

Great Quality Developments is a community focused, mixed-use development company that specializes in integrative developments that increase affordable housing, homeownership, and community resources in Detroit, MI. 

What was the origin of this venture?

It was founded out of a desire to respond to the affordable housing crisis and provide Detroit residents with a pathway to actively participate in the development of their neighborhoods. Housing is a highly determinative aspect in a person’s life; it influences a person’s financial, medical, and educational outcomes. To that end, we were inspired to increase opportunities for Detroit residents to engage in placemaking and neighborhood development.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of launching your venture?

We hope to promote greater engagement between developers and communities in Detroit without marginalizing those already present. Great Quality Developments aims to serve as a leading example of partnership placemaking. Additional long-term benefits of our company are increased affordable housing stock and economic development throughout the city of Detroit.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the MBC experience (so far)?

The biggest lesson that I have learned from the MBC experience is to trust the process. When I began this journey, I did not expect to walk away with lifelong friends but that is one of the unexpected — but extremely valuable — benefits of this opportunity. In addition to enriching my network with incredible people, the workshops have helped me develop smarter strategies to advance my venture.

What are your plans following MBC? How would prize money help your venture?

Following MBC and my graduation from law school, I will continue to develop my skills and become a better asset to my community. A portion of the prize money will be put towards purchasing the land necessary to establish this venture. While the remainder will be used to conduct market studies with block clubs to better understand the neighborhoods and how to create a successful foundation.

What advice do you have for other student entrepreneurs?

My advice to other student entrepreneurs is to follow your passion! There is a wealth of resources at your disposal as a student — use them. Do not be afraid to ask for help and pursue an idea that interests you.

Clear Computing: Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Finalist

Who are the team members?

 James Giordani, MSW ’22

Tell us briefly about your business idea.

Clear Computing helps older adults learn how to use technology to better their quality of life and extend their independence.

What was the origin of this venture?

While working at a local computer repair shop, I saw firsthand how challenging technology could be for many folks. Often, they felt shame or frustration for struggling with devices which were marketed as being “intuitive” or “easy to use.” When they sought help it was often met with a “Mom, just Google it” or a “it’s easy Dad, just figure it out yourself.” I often heard the words “I’m so stupid when it comes to technology.” In reality, they were bright people who just needed someone professional to answer their tech questions, or walk through their tech problems together.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of launching your venture?

It’s easy to see the pride and excitement in our clients when they learn to use an online health portal so they can message their doc, figure out Instacart so they can have their groceries delivered and avoid COVID-19 exposure, or master Zoom so they can have a robust interaction with their family. The benefits technology can have on a person’s quality of life and the independence are profound so we can’t wait to grow and touch the lives of a great number of older adults.

How did you form your team?

We are currently just a one-person-team featuring a guy doing something he loves. If you or someone you know might be interested in hopping on this little venture (which has quite a lot of room to grow) reach out to jgio@umich.edu.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the MBC experience (so far)?

That there’s a big community out there that’s eager to support you and your venture. Everyone has been so welcoming and happy to help.

What are your plans following MBC? How would prize money help your venture?

I’m excited to evolve Clear Computing from a fun side-gig to a full blown business. Prize money will be spent on recruiting employees, customer discovery, and (don’t tell the judges) a small amount will be dedicated to a backyard barbecue launch party.

What advice do you have for other student entrepreneurs?

1. Just YOLO it 2. Ask for help before things get iffy 3. It’s OK to say I don’t know.

Seconds Labs: Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Finalist

Matt Baker, WMBA '22 Claire Bissa, WMBA '22 Austin Clowes, WMBA '22
Matt Baker, WMBA '22 Claire Bissa, WMBA '22 Austin Clowes, WMBA '22

Who are the team members?

Matt Baker, WMBA ’22
Claire Bissa, WMBA ’22
Austin Clowes, WMBA ’22

Tell us briefly about your business idea.

Seconds Labs is a direct consumer business that sells beverage mixes to health-conscious individuals. Our products are “nootropics” which improve cognitive performance and promote holistic brain health, and they leverage underappreciated hero ingredient currently going to waste: the fruit surrounding coffee beans, known as “cascara” in the coffee industry. 

What was the origin of this venture?

Austin Clowes first encountered the problem while working as a food waste expert at a top environmental think-tank. He was researching food supply chains in Mexico and was appalled at both the massive amount of waste from coffee farming and the unfair compensation of farmers.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of launching your venture?

We hope to transform the coffee industry for the better. We hope to normalize higher pay for farming communities and reduce the environmental impacts of coffee production. We hope to help consumers achieve more balance in their lives and to reclaim their focus.

How did you form your team?

Our team converged over common interests in Professor Jim Price’s “Entrepreneurship: New Venture Creation” course in the Weekend MBA Program. The team all had a strong desire to build a purpose-driven business focused around a triple bottom line.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the MBC experience (so far)?

The MBC experience has drilled home the importance of a refined story with a strong and specific value proposition. Know your exact message and say it directly.

What are your plans following MBC? How would prize money help your venture?

We plan to continue our product development and target a Q4 product launch. The prize money would help us develop key branding and marketing assets for our go-to-market.

What advice do you have for other student entrepreneurs?

Get your feet wet! Use the resources provided through your organization, and work with people you enjoy!

Social Enterprise Spotlight: ePesos

Last year Business+Impact introduced a new series on U-M alumni who have created social enterprises and continue the work of entrepreneurship after graduation. Previous Social Enterprise Spotlights included Thawra and FoodFinder; now we focus our spotlight on ePesos, a tech platform expanding economic inclusion to the population least affiliated with the banking system in Mexico.
Ariel Olaiz, BBA ’07, has come full circle — from studying business at the base of the pyramid at the Ross School of Business to fostering economic inclusion in Mexico. Olaiz says his U-M education comes into play every day in his role as co-founder and chief financial officer at ePesos. We caught up with Ariel to learn more about his experience running a company in the FinTech space.
  • Describe your business.

ePesos is a FinTech that gives workers in Mexico early access to their wages. We’ve found that there are three huge problems we are solving for:

    • Wages are extremely low. 80% of workers make less than $1,000 USD a month. Families living paycheck-to-paycheck don’t have the savings required to face financial emergencies.
    • Wages can be very volatile, especially for workers in Hospitality and Manufacturing. There is unpredictability in the amount a worker will receive because of tips, productivity pay, bonuses, etc. If you don’t know how much you’ll make next month, how can you plan your finances?!
    • Timing of pay is beneficial for the company but not for the employee. Why do workers need to wait to get paid? Employers have funds tied up for no good reason. We let the employee access his/her entire wage whenever it’s convenient for the employee.

When an employee decides to access his/her payroll before payday, they pay a small commission ($1.5 USD) and their employer will automatically deduct the appropriate amount in their next paycheck.

  • What is your biggest recent discovery about founding a fintech company?

One of the great things about entrepreneurship is that you have to build everything from scratch. It’s sometimes painful, but the reality is that in large companies, someone, at some point, had to go through the effort of building a lot of the things (e.g. processes, products, structures, customer portfolios, etc.) that existing employees take for granted. And so, there are several insights that I have picked up along the way. Here are a few:

    • In entrepreneurship being a generalist is critical to scaling a company. When I started my career in asset management, I remember the concept of a “T” — start broad and then pick an area where you want to focus, which makes a ton of sense for some careers. However, building a company requires a different approach. As a startup, you must first get to Product-Market-Fit. To get to that stage you must learn to draw from a diverse collection of knowledge (e.g. finance, ops, marketing, etc.) in order to see connections and correlations that others might miss.
    • There is no substitute for hard work. Entrepreneurship is a world in which the highs are very high, but the lows can feel extremely profound. What I have found over the years is that one of the few things that will get you over a tough period is simply focusing on the task at hand — whatever the most important thing is at that moment — and powering through. Focusing on the process and on little details will help you deliver small wins consistently over time, and in order to do this you need to rely on good ol’ fashion hard work!
    • Customers have no idea what they want! The conventional wisdom is that you need to listen to your customers in order to deliver great products and services. It turns out that customers have absolutely no idea what they want! If you just ask a user what they would like to see in new features/functionality you are likely to get a standard answer. The true magic in product development and innovation comes from deriving insights from your users without them knowing. This is super hard to do! It requires a special skill set to tease out these nuggets of insight. Check out “The Mom Test” by Rob Fitzpatrick if you want to learn more about this.
  • How has the landscape of fintech changed since you started your business?

Everything has changed after COVID-19. I’ve been on the entrepreneurial journey for 5 years and it is crazy to see how fast the industry has changed in such a short timespan. I’ve basically seen changes in the following areas:

    • Investment. Global venture funds are much more comfortable making investments around the world. LatAm is a great example of this — before 2020, investments from funds such as Softbank, Tiger Global, and a16z were extremely rare. Today, I see deals like this being done every month!
    • Geographic expansion. One area that I am super excited for is that country borders are also becoming less relevant from an operational standpoint. I’ve seen so many tech companies expand beyond their home market at a super early stage — that was something only large companies did prior to COVID.
    • Talent Acquisition. With work-from-home becoming the standard, the traditional way of thinking about hiring has totally changed. Where you are based has become less relevant than what you are working on and what your skills are. Hiring people in other cities or other countries is now easier than ever before.
  • What from your Base of the Pyramid studies or instructors has been the most valuable to you?

There is a misconception in the business world that businesses can not be profitable when they serve low-income customers. In fact, most traditional financial institutions will avoid this segment altogether because it’s higher risk and because margins are lower. To be frank, this sounds logical — why would you serve a riskier segment that hurts your bottom line when there are plenty of other customers out there that need your products?

What we have found is that those institutions are asking the wrong questions. Instead of asking, who is most likely to pay me back? Or, how can we extract the most economic value from a particular user segment today? What we ask ourselves at ePesos is, what happens when you introduce new technology that can lower your cost structure — would that allow us to serve a wider group of people? Can we adjust our business model in order to reduce consumer credit risk? How can we serve “unattractive” customers today but grow with them over time so that our lifetime value is optimized? This requires a mindset shift that is not easily made by companies that have built their success on mitigating risk.

My academic journey of Business at the Base of the Pyramid has taught me to challenge assumptions and to ask better questions.

  • Ariel Olaiz with ePesos co-founder Oscar Robles

    What advice would you have for current or future Ross students?

Learning to slow down is a skill. We live in a world where everyone wants something right away. People want their products delivered the same day. People have access to information on a live basis. People want to see ridiculous results YR1 (think about VC valuations and growth expectations). The reality is that there is tremendous power in slowing down. Slowing things down allows you to make better decisions…unsure about a certain decision? Sleep on it and let time give you more clarity of thought. Slowing things down allows you to nurture relationships in a better way. Slowing things down allows you to put your head above the water and think 2, 3, 4, 5 years from now. Slow and steady wins the race.

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now. Students and professionals in general, need to have a bias for action. Whatever it is – launching a new product, starting a new company, learning a new skill. We need to have the confidence to think big and the courage to start with a simple action, whatever it is. I’ve seen this a bunch, what starts out as an idea, can morph over time into something amazing with small and consistent effort, but you have to start! 

 

Read another Social Enterprise Spotlight:

Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Round Two Winners

Ann Arbor, December 7, 2021 – The Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition has announced the eight teams advancing in its Seigle Impact Track.

For Dearborn founder presents to an audience and judges in 2019 Michigan Business Challenge.
For Dearborn presents in Round Two in 2019.

Many student teams submitted proposals for MBC, with over 30 teams submitting for the Seigle Impact Track. After passing a qualifying round, teams advanced to Round One, which was held at the Ross School of Business on Friday, November 8-12, via video link. In the Seigle Impact Track, eight teams will now advance to Round Three, taking place on Friday, January 21, 2022. From there, four teams will advance to the Finals on Friday, February 11, 2022.

Eight impact teams will advance from this round to the next:

  • Clear Computing – helps older adults learn their devices to better their quality of life and extend their independence. James Giordani, MSW ’22

  • finding joi – supports Black women in centering their well-being in their professional and academic success through access to physical and digital mental-health resources. Joi James, MBA ’23

  • Founder – provides an end-to-end investment and fundraising platform that seeks to educate investors and provide founders with initial capital through crowdfunding. Ariel Cruz, MBA 22

  • Great Quality Development –  is a social-impact driven mixed-use development company that specializes in integrative models that increase affordable housing, homeownership, and community resources in Detroit, MI. Hattie McKinney, JD ’22

  • Nathan Allston presents his venture for the Michigan Business Challenge Seigle Impact Track.
    Nathan Allston of Plucky Comics presents in 2021.
    Plucky Comics – is an educational tool that tells the stories of Black Queer historical figures through the medium of sequential art. Nathan Alston, MBA ’22 & Daniella Gennaro MBA/MA in Educational Studies ’22

  • PPD Project –  is a pipeline for professionals with disabilities to grow personally and professionally through empowered and autonomous visioning, action, and skill growth. Kayla Rothstein, BBA ’24

  • Seconds Labs – transforms a byproduct of coffee farming into a novel, performance-boosting beverage for the health-conscious consumer. Austin Clowes, MBA ’22; Matthew Baker MBA ’22; Claire Bissa MBA ’22

  • Wild – is an all-in-one online destination for end-of-life and after-loss planning. Maura McInerney-Rowley, MBA ’22

Additionally, 8 teams are advancing in the the Product/Service Track, and 8 teams are advancing in the IP Track.

The Michigan Business Challenge (MBC) is a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition where student businesses have the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling over $100,000, gain feedback from leaders in the business community, and expand their business network. Ross’ Seigle Impact Track is sponsored by the Mark and Robin Seigle Entrepreneurial Innovation Fund and co-managed by Business+Impact at Michigan Ross, the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, and the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies