The foundation will serve as title sponsor for this year’s Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition and provide $25,000 for a special technology award

DETROIT (September 18, 2017) – Michigan’s high-tech, high-growth companies will once again shine in the annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, fueled by significant support from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, a metro Detroit-based philanthropic organization. With its grant of $250,000, the foundation will serve as title sponsor for this year’s startup pitch competition, which offers up to $1 million in prizes to some of the state’s most groundbreaking companies.

“Each year, we look forward to showcasing the small-business innovation happening throughout Michigan and providing startups with the funding and mentorship needed to help them grow,” said Martin Dober, vice president of Invest Detroit and managing director of Invest Detroit Ventures. “Partners like the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation make it possible. We are truly grateful for its generosity and support.”

Now in its eighth year, the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition brings together entrepreneurs and investors and connects startups with funding sources. Since the competition’s inception, participating companies have generated more than 1,000 jobs in Michigan and raised more than $550 million in capital.

“Our screening committee is currently reviewing this year’s entries and we look forward to announcing our 36 semifinalists next month,” Dober said. “In November, those companies will take the stage at the historic Masonic Temple in downtown Detroit and pitch their businesses before a panel of judges.”

In the end, 10 finalists will be selected to pitch at the Jack White Theatre inside the Detroit Masonic Temple, where the $500,000 grand prize and other special awards will be given out. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is also providing $25,000 in prize money for the Caregiver Award, which will recognize technologies that support caregivers.

“Michigan is no longer a ‘flyover state’ for venture capitalists, thanks in large part to the success of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition,” said David Egner, president & CEO, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Beyond the competition prizes, we look forward to seeing how this year’s finalists and semifinalists leverage this opportunity of exposure to more than 70 national and international angel and venture capital investors for future growth.”

To learn more about Accelerate Michigan, visit acceleratemichigan.org.

About the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is the state’s largest startup pitch competition. Since its inception, participating companies have generated 1,000+ Michigan jobs and raised more than $550 million in capital. Now entering its eighth year, the competition has featured notable grand prize award winners including: SPLT (2016), Banza (2015), SkySpecs (2014), Varsity News Network (2013), Algal Scientific (2012), DeNovo Sciences (2011) and Armune Biosciences (2010). Through the strong support of partners, collaborative investors and a burgeoning tech sector, Accelerate Michigan is recognized as a pillar of the local startup community. The annual event is made possible by grants and sponsorships from the New Economy Initiative and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s 21st Century Jobs Fund, as well as significant corporate and community support. Accelerate Michigan is a program of Invest Detroit Ventures, an early stage investment platform powered by Invest Detroit.

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