Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two Midland-based Alternative Energy Companies Win Top Awards in the Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest Business Plan Competition

Kinetic Wave Power and Advanced Battery Concepts sweep the competition as more than $58,000 in cash awards were presented to companies in the GLEQ statewide business plan competition.

Ann Arbor, Mich., June 11, 2009 – Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest (GLEQ) hosted its Statewide Business Plan Competition Award Ceremony on Thursday, June 11, 2009 with partner organizations Automation Alley and NextEnergy at the James B. Henry Center on the Michigan State University campus.

The GLEQ $25,000 Grand Prize in the Emerging Company category was awarded to Kinetic Wave Power, LLC of Midland, Michigan. Kinetic Wave Power is led by Vice President of Technology James Sack and has developed unique technology to utilize renewable energy contained in ocean waves.

The Runner Up award of $5,000 in the Emerging Company category was captured by Lambert Technologies of Canton, Michigan. Lambert Technologies has developed and is bringing to market a patented stress-testing tool for engineers to verify and validate engineering designs of structural components.

In the New Business Idea category, Advanced Battery Concepts, LLC of Midland received the First Place cash award of $5,000 and RateMyStudentRental, LLC was awarded the Runner Up award of $1,000. Advanced Battery Concepts has developed battery electrode technology, branded GreenSeal™, which enables dramatic improvements in battery performance while lowering costs. Additionally, flexibility in packaging combined with weight savings enables new applications to become feasible for lead-acid batteries. RateMyStudentRental offers a web-based rental property rating system for student rentals, with a management system for landlords and a private-label housing portal for universities.

Advanced Battery Concepts also received two innovation awards. The awards are the Automation Alley Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Award of $12,500 and the NextEnergy Alternative Energy Innovation Award of $10,000. Dan Radomski, Vice President Industry Services for NextEnergy, presented both awards.

Lee Walko, President of Midland-based Walko Consulting, was awarded Coach of the Year for his work with two companies, including the Emerging Company winner Kinetic Wave Power. Marisa Smith, President of Dexter-based The Whole Brain Group, LLC was selected for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship award.

The top six teams competing for the GLEQ Grand Prize pitched their plans to a panel of investment judges made up of Pete Farner, partner at TGap Ventures; Judy Johncox, Senior Director Commercialization Services, Wayne State University; WSU Program Director, TechTown; Elias Shakour, Portfolio Manager, 21st Century Jobs Fund, Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Christopher R. Sklarin, Director of Business Development - Upper Midwest, Chrysalis Ventures; and Phil Tepley, Technology Team Coordinator, Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center.

Presentation scores were added to scores on the companies’ written business plans to determine the overall winners. Finalists in addition to the winning companies included Husk Insulation, Hygieia Inc., Blaze Medical Devices and GiftZip.com.

The keynote address was presented by Philip H. Power, Vice Chair of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Executive Committee, and President and Founder of The Center for Michigan. A “think-and-do tank”, The Center for Michigan aims to help develop and execute comprehensive and long-range policy solutions to transform Michigan's business, economic, political and cultural climate.

For nearly forty years, Philip H. Power was founder, owner and chairman of the board of HomeTown Communications Network, Inc., a group of 62 community newspapers and 24 telephone directories throughout Michigan and around Cincinnati, Ohio.

The GLEQ awards event was held in the Main Dining Room of the James B. Henry Center on the MSU campus. The event began with an MIT Enterprise Forum panel discussion on Business Incubators and CEO success stories.

Additional event supporters included Michigan Small Business Technology Development Centers (MI-SBTDC), New Enterprise Forum, and MIT Enterprise Forum.

About Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest

GLEQ, now in its ninth year of continuous operations, is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) educational program designed to accelerate the formation of high-growth companies in Michigan. More than $31 million has been awarded to GLEQ alumni from the 21st Century Jobs Fund, bringing the total investment into GLEQ companies to more than $60 million.

GLEQ provides coaching, mentoring, business training and entrepreneurial discussions to entrepreneurs statewide. It also sponsors a two-phase statewide business plan competition each year. The competition is structured into two distinct maturity paths; companies with more developed businesses compete in the Emerging Company path, while teams with new business concepts compete in the New Business Idea path.

GLEQ leverages a portfolio of volunteer business and investment experts to provide training, coaching and mentoring. Entrepreneurs submitting an executive summary or business plan receive as many as four written critiques from members of the investor community.

The 2010 GLEQ Business Plan Competition opens for registration on Monday, August 24. Awards will be announced at ACE’10 on Thursday, January 21, 2010

Additional information is available at www.gleq.org or by calling Diane Durance, GLEQ Executive Director at 734-255-3183.

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