Lillian Augusta Wins Prize, Gets Local Recognition

Nana Britwum (left) and Jannice Newson won the 2020 Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track

OCTOBER 20, 2020 – Last year’s  winner of the 2020 Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track was Lillian Augusta – (Jannice Newson [MS ‘20] & Nana Britwum [MS ‘20]) a biodegradable hair braiding product made from Phragmites, which is an invasive plant species. 

Well, recently this unique “hair without harm” business won $10,000 in the Essence/McDonald’s Making Moves Pitch Competition.  Newsome said, “I have to catch my breath! It’s a great feeling,” she exclaimed. “Especially knowing we’re getting ready for our launch next year. This is really going to be very beneficial to get things in place for us.”

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Additionally, Lillian Augusta felt the love from Crain’s Detroit Business with a feature on their work.  In the article, Jannice and Nana shared that they chose phragmites because of its fibrous composition, and because it’s local. They harvest the phragmites themselves from wetlands owned by the University of Michigan.

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We’re happy for Lillian Augusta’s well-earned recognition, and we know that the rest of the world is jealous that we first got to see their pitch last year!

Michigan Business Challenge Seigle Impact Track Winner Announced

Ann Arbor, February 24, 2020 – The winner of the 2020 Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track is Lillian Augusta – (Jannice Newson [MS ‘20] & Nana Britwum [MS ‘20])a biodegradable hair braiding product made from Phragmites, which is an invasive plant species. The Seigle Impact Track competition, co-sponsored by the Zell Lurie InstituteBusiness+Impact, and the Erb Institute, began in November with over 50 teams. Eight semi-finalists competed on February 8 for the four finalist spots in the Seigle finals competition.

Other finalists included:

For Dearborn (4D) –  Rima Imad Fadlallah (MBA ‘20)  For Dearborn (4D) creates space for Arab and/or Muslim Americans (AAM) to self actualize and thrive through digital media, programming, fashion and philanthropy. 

HalalFin – Razeen Karim (BBA ’20), Safwaan Mir (MM ’20), Mohammad Eddir (BSE ’20), & Abrar Quazi (BSE ’20) HalalFin is developing a platform that utilizes blockchain technology, specifically cryptocurrency, to provide individuals access to Islamic-compliant banking and transacting. 

Revolin Sports – Hughes Davis (MSE ’20) Revolin Sports provides conscientious athletes with high-performance sporting equipment to help them up their game while respecting the planet. Starting with our pickleball paddle, we use our natural BioFlx Technology™ to create products that undoubtedly prove sustainability and performance are not mutually exclusive. 

Lillian Augusta received $15,000 for first place in the Seigle Impact Track, $2,000 for the MIC Investment Committee Award, and $5,000 for the One Magnify Best Business team, which was presented by Mark Petroff. For Dearborn was the Seigle Impact Track Runner-up ($7,500).  For Dearborn won a $500 Showcase Award and $1500 as a Seigle finalist, while HalalFin won $1500 as a Seigle finalist.

The expert judging panel for the Seigle Impact Track finals was comprised of:

  • Diana Callaghan – Endeavor Detroit
  • Michael Godwin – Resonant Venture Partners
  • Raymond Guthrie – Social Impact Fund, American Heart Association 

The Michigan Business 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. 

Four Impact Track Teams Advance to the Finals of the Michigan Business Challenge

January 27, 2020 – Ann Arbor – Business+Impact wants to thank all the teams and judges involved in Round Two of this year’s Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track! The competition has been very successful thus far, and the 9 teams from Round Two did a lot of hard work on their presentations. The Seigle Impact Track had a panel of three judges – Eric Davis, Chief Investment Officer, ReValue; Dr. Marcus Harris, College of Business, University of Michigan—Dearborn; and John Cunningham, Chief Operating Officer, Functional Fluidics.

SEE PHOTOS OF ROUND TWO

In addition to the 4 Impact Track teams moving on, a total of 4 teams will compete in the Innovation Track, and 4 teams will compete in the Invention Track.

The Seigle Impact Track finals will take place on February 21, 2020 from 9 – 11:35 am at the Ross School of Business. The following teams will participate there:

For Dearborn (4D) –  Rima Imad Fadlallah (MBA ‘20)  For Dearborn (4D) creates space for Arab and/or Muslim Americans (AAM) to self actualize and thrive through digital media, programming, fashion and philanthropy. 

HalalFin – Razeen Karim (BBA ’20), Safwaan Mir (MM ’20), Mohammad Eddir (BSE ’20), & Abrar Quazi (BSE ’20) HalalFin is developing a platform that utilizes blockchain technology, specifically cryptocurrency, to provide individuals access to Islamic-compliant banking and transacting. 

Lillian Augusta – Jannice Newson (MS ‘20) & Nana Britwum (MS ‘20) Lillian Augusta is a brand that revolutionizes Black hair care by offering hair without harm. We aspire to make plastic-based synthetic braiding hair obsolete by replacing it with biodegradable braiding hair made from Phragmites, an invasive plant species. 

Revolin Sports – Hughes Davis (MSE ’20) Revolin Sports provides conscientious athletes with high-performance sporting equipment to help them up their game while respecting the planet. Starting with our pickleball paddle, we use our natural BioFlx Technology™ to create products that undoubtedly prove sustainability and performance are not mutually exclusive. 

The Michigan Business Challenge is a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition where the winning team has the opportunity to win  funding, gain feedback from judges and expand their business network.  The competition is open to all students of the University of Michigan, and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. The at-large Michigan Business Challenge is sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute, and the Impact Track is co-sponsored by Zell Lurie and Business+Impact.

SEE PHOTOS OF ROUND TWO

Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Round One Winners

Ann Arbor, November 25, 2019 – The Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition has announced the eight teams advancing in its Seigle Impact Track.

Approximately 100 student teams submitted proposals for MBC, with 33 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 22, 2019. In the Seigle Impact Track, eight teams will now advance to Round Two, taking place on Friday, January 24, 2020. From there, four teams will advance to the Finals on Friday, February 21, 2020.

Eight impact teams will advance from Round One to Round Two:

  • For Dearborn presents during Round One of the MBC Seigle Impact Track.

    Apply-U is a student-centered, user-friendly college admissions platform that ensures that every student persists throu the college admissions process and life-changing outcomes.

  • For Dearborn is a multimedia platform that holds the mic to Arab and/or Muslim youth (ages 13-21) from Dearborn as they challenge the national narrative on Arabs/Muslims and discuss issues prevalent in the community.

  • HalalFin is providing Islamic compliant financial tools to a wider market through the use of FinTech.

  • HBCU-DAP provides resources, mentorship, and support for HBCU students on their journey to a doctorate degree.

  • hEARt Listens is a socially engaged business that offers two complementary products: a training program that instructs students in emotional support skills and qualifies them has “hEARt supporters,” and a peer support chat platform upon which these supporters can anonymously connect with students seeking an empathetic ear.

  • Lillian Augusta‘s biodegradable hair will revolutionize the $2.5B black hair care industry by providing a sustainable solution to the low quality and detrimental synthetic hair products currently on the market.

  • Puente is a tech nonprofit that builds software to streamline date collection and analysis in international health.

  • Revolin Sports is revolutionizing the sporting goods industry by creating high-performance, sustainable sporting goods for better play and a better planet.

The eight enterprises feature multidisciplinary student teams from Engineering, School of Information, Biology, Ecology, Public Health, Computer Science, Medicine, and Business. 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

Q&A – Jerry Davis on how Free Accounting Fridays and other programs help Detroit business owners and nonprofits thrive

Jerry Davis is the associate dean at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and leads the Business + Impact initiative. Davis’ research at the University of Michigan is broadly concerned with corporate governance and the effects of finance on society. Through his years as a researcher, he recognized the implications that globalization and technology had for the U.S. economy as millions of Americans jobs were being displaced. He realized that the private sector needed to have a more positive impact on society. With this realization, Davis began concentrating on how business could be used to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Read more in U-M’s Detroit feature »

Michigan Business Challenge Seigle Impact Track Winner Announced

Ann Arbor, March 18, 2018 – The winner of the 2019 Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track is Dear Black Women (Florence Noel,MBA/MSI 2019), an affirmation movement and social network for Black women to heal, connect and grow. The Seigle Impact Track competition, co-sponsored by the Zell Lurie InstituteBusiness+Impact, and the Erb Institute, began in November with over 50 teams. Eight semi-finalists competed on February 8 for the four finalist spots in the Seigle finals competition.

Other finalists included:

NeoHealth is 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. We have developed a low-cost device that attaches to a phone and utilizes the camera to detect whether an antimalarial is counterfeit or authentic.  — Sujai Arakali (BS 2020), Derrell Chapman (BS 2019)

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. — Harrison Price (BSE 2021), Joseph Schuman (BS 2021), Ethan Russo (BBA 2021), Anthony Salmeron (BSE 2021)

SubQ Assist is 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. — Vinayak Gokhale (MBA 2019)

Dear Black Women received $15,000 for first place in the Seigle Impact Track and $100 for third place in Elevator Pitch competition.

Practical Prosthetics was the Seigle Impact Track Runner-up ($7,500), won the Best Undergraduate Team Award ($5,000) and the Williamson Cross-function Team Award ($5,000). Seigle finalist NeoHealth won a Positive Organizing Award ($2,500) and a Best Showcase Award ($250).  

The expert judging panel for the Seigle Impact Track finals was comprised of:

  • Carolyn Cassin – Belle Impact Fund
  • Loch McCabe – Shepherd Advisors
  • Marissa Guananja – W.K. Kellogg Foundation  

The Michigan Business 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. 

View photos from the finals »

SubQ Assist: Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Finalist Team

Who are the team members?

Vinayak Gokhale (MBA ’19, MD)
Ibrahim Mohedas (ME)

How did you decide your team name?

The name is same as that of the product/invention. It is derived from a functional description of the device as a “subcutaneous contraceptive implantation assistive device”

Tell us briefly about your business idea.

The product was created using ethnographic design technique. This involves researchers observing and/or interacting with a study’s participants in their real-life environment. Thus, a problem related to contraception in low resource settings was identified and a solution devised. It provides an extremely cost-effective way to provide access to affordable, long term contraception to women living in areas with lack or severe scarcity of trained medical personnel.

How has the MBC experience helped transform your approach to business strategy?

The MBC experience has forced us to identify and commit to a single best commercialization strategy and has helped us focus our efforts on finding ways of making it happen.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of the implementation of this idea?

SubQ Assist has the potential to revolutionize contraception delivery in low resource settings and to boost the adoption of subcutaneous implants as drug delivery devices for a range of indications in developed as well as developing markets.

What been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

No matter how much you have accomplished with a venture, working with a structured format toward clear objectives as well as obtaining independent feedback and fresh perspective, is always invaluable.

If you win, what will you do immediately following the competition?

Update my resume, buy some really expensive market research reports, and celebrate!

NeoHealth: Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Finalist Team

Who are the team members?

Sujai Arakali (BS, Cell Biology ’20)
Derrell Chapman (BS, Philosophy, ’19)

How did you decide your team name?

We wanted a name that showed that we were a modern medical innovation company, so we brainstormed a bunch of names until we both agreed on NeoHealth.

Tell us briefly about your business idea.

NeoHealth focuses on eliminating the global problem of counterfeit drugs through a low-cost device that attaches to the back of a phone and utilizes the camera to detect counterfeit drugs. We hope that it makes a significant reduction in the number of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and ends up saving lives.

How has the MBC experience helped transform your approach to business strategy?

Prior to MBC, both of us were primarily focused on the technical development of the product and lacked knowledge of how to pitch our project or develop a projection for our financials. The mentorship and workshops helped teach us skills essential for the development of a successful company.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of the implementation of this idea?

An estimated 1,000,000 deaths occur each year due to counterfeit pharmaceuticals. We hope that our product will be able significantly reduce the number of lives impacted by counterfeit pharmaceuticals in developing country

What been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

Starting a business can be one of the most exciting yet difficult tasks. Thankfully the University of Michigan has countless resources to help make this experience as easy as possible.

If you win, what will you do immediately following the competition?

Get back to work. An entrepreneur never has time to relax.

Dear Black Women: Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Finalist Team

Who are the team members?

Florence Noel (MBA/MSI ’19)

How did you decide your team name?

Dear Black Women is grounded in Black women’s affirmations to themselves. ‘Dear Black Women’ was the perfect way to symbolize our love and care for ourselves.

Tell us briefly about your business idea.

Dear Black Women is an affirmation movement and network for Black women to heal, connect and grow. We specialize in curating offline and online spaces that create community and increase the social capital of Black women in the movement. The Dear Black Women dream is to be present in every major city in the United States where Black woman want us and to change the lives of the Black women in this movement.

How has the MBC experience helped transform your approach to business strategy?

MBC has helped me in so many ways. One of my favorite ways is in helping me refine Dear Black Women’s value proposition and strategies for attracting and delivering value to Black women in our movement.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of the implementation of this idea?

Simply put: Black women will save their own lives. In community.

What been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

Keep. Going. It’s scary and overwhelming and without guarantee, but all your hard work and vision is worth the leap. Keep. Going.

If you win, what will you do immediately following the competition?

Alert the thousands of Black women in the movement and tell them to tell everyone they love! Then,  party with Dear Black Women in the area. Then, cry. Then, sleep. Then, begin reinvesting in the business. Order may vary.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

I dedicate this to every Black woman before me whose life made mine possible. And every Black woman alongside me and after me whose life reflects the best in us. All of their journeys offer me examples of love, strength, courage and wisdom. I follow them. I thank them. I am them.

Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Round One Winners

Ann Arbor, December 3, 2018 – The Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition has announced the eight teams advancing in its Seigle Impact Track.

Ninety-five student teams submitted proposals for MBC, with 51 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 30, 2018. In the Seigle Impact Track, eight teams will now advance to Round Two, taking place on Friday, February 8, 2019. From there, four teams will advance to the Finals on Friday, March 15, 2018.

Eight impact teams will advance from Round One to Round Two:

  • BLIP – aiming to reduce the amount of time and effort women in rural Gujarat, India, spend to collect potable water, alleviating pain and reducing “time poverty.”
  • Dear Black Women – an affirmation movement and social network, online and offline, that grows the social capital of black women.
  • Dough – personalizing student loan management from matriculation through repayment to reduce debt burdens and default rates.
  • NeoHealth – a low-cost device that can be used to detect counterfeit antimalarials in developing countries.
  • Peerstachio – a peer-to-peer learning community platform that helps undergraduate college students improve their grades by connecting underclassmen with trusted upperclassmen.
  • Practical Prosthetics – providing affordable, accessible and functional 3D-printed prosthetics.
  • SubQ Assist – a task-shifting device to aid in the safe administration of subcutaneous contraceptive implants for people in rural areas.
  • ValCycle – an end-to-end reverse logistics platform that connects unused product to the people who need it most.

The eight teams feature students from Biology, Education Engineering, Computer Science, Information, LSA, and Michigan Ross. Additionally, 17 teams are advancing in the at-large competition, including Dough and SubQAssist.

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. This track awards a $26,000 prize pool to the most compelling business plans that deliver social or environmental impact, and the top social impact team can win $15,000 at the finals on March 15.

Read about all of the Round One winners ZLI’s post “2019 Michigan Business Challenge Teams Advancing to Round 2”