TechTown’s MitoStem earns top $100,000 prize in Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest business plan competition Other TechTown companies make impressive showingJune 18, 2012
DETROIT, June 18, 2012 — MitoStem, a life sciences company specializing in regenerative medicine, won the top prize, a $100,000 SmartZone Award, at the Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest (GLEQ) business plan competition for Michigan entrepreneurs. Detroit-based MitoStem specializes in turning human adult cells into “pluripotent” cells that can be used to replace damaged tissue cells in that same individual.
MitoStem President and CEO Jim Eliason accepted the award on behalf of the company. A veteran biotech entrepreneur, Eliason played an integral role in the startup success of publicly traded Asterand, the world’s largest supplier of human tissue samples and TechTown’s first official tenant. He also is the director of the Great Lakes Stem Cell Innovation Center, a novel laboratory in which multiple TechTown life sciences and regenerative medicine startups like MitoStem can cost-effectively share space and collaborate to accelerate the pace of technology transfer and commercialization. The Great Lakes Stem Cell Innovation Center is one of the few commercialization centers of its kind in the nation, and it was a key factor in persuading organizers of the 2010 World Stem Cell Summit to hold that international conference in Detroit.
According to Eliason, TechTown played a critical role in helping MitoStem win the GLEQ SmartZone Award.
“Entrepreneurship doesn’t come naturally to scientists and researchers,” Eliason said. “It’s a learning process that is much accelerated by the support and resources of Michigan-centric programs like GLEQ and business incubators like TechTown. TechTown’s business coaches and mentors helped us refine our business plan and perfect our pitch such that we were 100 percent prepared by the time we actually presented our case for funding at GLEQ.”
Other TechTown companies participating in this year’s GLEQ include Blue Water BioProducts, which won the $5,000 Green Chemistry Innovation Award, and startups Regaingo and Hygia.
The $100,000 SmartZone Award is a pre-seed investment. MitoStem has won smaller GLEQ financial awards in past years. Both the New Business Idea and Emerging Company categories, for example, have multiple cash awards. The top prize for New Business Idea is $5,000; for Emerging Company it’s $25,000. According to the GLEQ website, entrepreneurs must select a competition category based on their venture’s stage of development. The New Business Idea category is appropriate for early-stage ventures and entrepreneurs exploring and developing new business ideas. The Emerging Company category is for revenue-generating businesses and ventures in the initial stages of commercializing technology. Additional innovation and regional awards are available to participants in the New Business Idea and Emerging Company categories.
“GLEQ is a fantastic entrepreneurial platform and a critical component of the startup ecosystem in the State of Michigan,” said TechTown President and CEO Leslie Smith. “TechTown is proud our companies continue to show well in the GLEQ competition, which is a validation of the quality of novel technologies, deal flow and entrepreneurial leadership located within the City of Detroit. A win for MitoStem is a win for all of us.”
TechTown works to reignite Detroit's entrepreneurial culture by fueling business growth, job creation and the revitalization of Midtown and beyond. Through its partners and programs, the nonprofit business incubator and accelerator connects small businesses to the customers, talent, capital and location necessary to build a thriving enterprise in Southeast Michigan. Its entrepreneurs also gain unique access to research, academic and technology assets through TechTown's partnership with Wayne State University. To learn more about TechTown, visit http://techtownwsu.org/.
ABOUT THE GREAT LAKES ENTREPRENEUR’S QUEST
The Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest aspires to be an engine for the formation of new, high-growth companies in Michigan. The mission of GLEQ and its competition is to continually encourage and educate entrepreneurs on the creation, start up and early growth stages of high-growth businesses within the state of Michigan. This will be accomplished by linking entrepreneurs pursuing high-growth opportunities with access to a statewide network of community resources, expert advice, high quality education, management talent and capital at every stage of development. GLEQ's competition will provide a venue for feedback from successful entrepreneurs and investors on ideas and plans submitted, and will recognize the most promising entrepreneurs and their businesses. For more information, contact GLEQ at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-255-3183.
- Contact: Francine Wunder
- Voice: 313-577-8155
- Email: email@example.com
- Fax: 313-577-4459