MTEC SmartZone Client takes First Place at Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge

On Friday, November 11, twenty semifinalist startup teams from eleven universities across Michigan competed for $12,500 cash prizes. For the second year in a row, the Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge (MCSC) celebrated student entrepreneurship and innovation.

“This year was MCSC’s first in-person event,” said Aubrey Haase, the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s events and engagement coordinator. Haase, who works behind the scenes, made this year’s competition come to life. “MCSC is a collaboration, and 2022’s event, co-hosted with Central Michigan University’s Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship, saw more students participate. The event is growing.”

The pitch competition was a collaboration between Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Mid-Michigan College, Northern Michigan University, and Wayne State University. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation sponsors the event.

Selected from the top 10 finalists, $11,500 was dispersed to the four winning startups. Two teams received the People’s Choice award, receiving $500 each.

Top 4 (in order of placement):

1.    Jordan Craven, Tall and Small Designs – Michigan Technological University (MTEC SmartZone client)

Tall and Small Designs is a software service for retailers to provide form-fitting mockups of online clothing products for consumers.

2.    Austin Pollock, REEL FREE – Michigan State University

REEL FREE is a retractable oxygen tubing system designed to keep lengthy tubing organized and tangle-free.

3.    Michael Meadows, Protein Pints – University of Michigan

Protein Pints provides gluten-free protein-based ice-cream using 100% grass-fed whey.

4.    Rourke Sylvain, Integrated Molecular Innovations – Michigan Technological University

Integrated Molecular Innovations is an electrochemical biosensor for at-home detection of T4 thyroid levels.

People’s Choice:

John Hart, Fello – Michigan State University

Fello is an app designed to connect creatives and artists in local areas through project sharing and collaboration.

Elias Giannakopoulos, RENTR – Grand Valley State University

RENTR is an app providing various solutions to make real estate easy, including maintenance, communication, and financial advising.

Students spent the first portion of the day pitching their ideas to judges. Ten start-ups were selected to move to the finalist showcase round. Congratulations to every competing team and to the night’s winners.

2023’s Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge will be hosted by Central Michigan University’s Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship.

Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge 2022 Winners | Michigan State University (