Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge (MCSC)

Application Deadline:  September 27

Registration Coming Soon

Registration for the Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge will open in early August.  If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this opportunity, please email Shorouq Almallah, almallas@gvsu.edu


The Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge (MCSC) is a student business model competition open to all college students in the state of Michigan. The competition focuses on the development of entrepreneurial skillset and capacity and creating cross collaboration among collegiate students in Michigan.


The goal of MCSC is to foster entrepreneurship and encourage students to commercialize their ideas and provide them a forum in which they can develop skills in developing entrepreneurial ventures and pitching their ideas. To encourage collaboration, participating teams will be encouraged to form multi-disciplinary teams that span different disciplines and colleges. Teams do not have to be university specific. 



  • Round 1 (Executive Summary):  
    • An executive summary and an online video submission.  The executive summaries will be reviewed and scored by external judges who will select the top 10 teams to compete in the final, as well as the top teams for the Business Model Showcase round!


  • Round 2 (Elevator Pitch Challenge):
    • One to two teams from each participating university will be guaranteed a spot in this round. Teams selected into the Business Model Showcase competition will be able to highlight their products and services through an online session.  This round will be held virtually, the same day as the final competition round.  Participants in this round will not move the final (Grand Startup Challenge) round of this competition.  Winners from this round will be announced at the end of the program, during the award ceremony.


  • Round 3 (Grand Startup Challenge):
    • This is the final competition with the top 10 teams to be chosen based on the judging results from executive summary submission.  This round is not university specific, and teams in this round can be made of multiple universities. This will be half a day program that culminates in an award ceremony to acknowledge all the teams and recognize the winners.  A 5-minute PowerPoint presentation will be due on November 3, 2021. For additional assistance with creating your pitch, please contact your entrepreneurship department at your school for mentorship.


  • The inaugural event will be hosted by Grand Valley State University on November 5, 2021. .
  • The host institution agrees to financially cover all hosting expenses, including food, supplies, and other event expenses
  • The host institution agrees to manage all vendor invoices, and the issuance of the prize money for the teams
  • The hosting will rotate every year among the colleges and universities in Michigan.
  • The co-host school will assist in planning and execution, and is expected to host the competition the following year. The 2021 co-host is Michigan State University.
  • Participating colleges and universities will be asked to pay a fee to contribute to the cash prize pool.  There will be a tiered sponsorship option to make it more feasible for the smaller schools to participate.
  • The host institution will seek other sponsorships and commitments to run the event.
  • Cash and in-kind prizes have not been determined yet and will depend on how many universities and sponsors participate. 


Location and Format (TBD):

The location and format of the competition will be determined later in the summer.  We will continue to monitor local and state health guidelines to ensure safety for all participants.   


Friday, November 5, 2021

Applications are due by September 27.  You can apply through YouNodle by clicking on this link  here


This is a Michigan-specific competition and any and all current student entrepreneurs across Michigan are welcome to apply and participate, so long as these rules and guidelines are followed:

  1. The company or idea must be majority (over 50%) owned by students.
  2. Any idea from any industry is accepted.
  3. All University grade levels are accepted, including undergraduates, Master’s and PhD students.
  4. The company or idea cannot have over $10,000 in revenue, including third party investment.
  5. Your entry can just be an idea and a legally formed entity. However, if a legal entity has been formed, the earliest incorporation date cannot be before November 5, 2020.
  6. If you have previously competed at MCSC and won a prize, you are not eligible to apply with the same idea. You are eligible if you apply with a different idea. If you have previously applied, but did not win, you are eligible to apply again.

Student requirements: Size of Team and Entries Allowed per Team

  • This competition is for current dual-enrollment, undergraduate, or graduate level students enrolled at any participating college or university in Michigan.
  • Teams are not university specific. Teams can be made up of students representing one or more of the participating universities.
  • Contestants may compete individually or in teams.  However, it is highly encouraged that students work in teams.  Teams should not exceed 5 members.

International Students

International students can participate.  However, they are required to have a US team member on their team.  

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

Contestants should be aware that neither administrators of the competition nor judges of the business plan will be required, nor should they be asked, to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA).

Contestants are encouraged to be selective about what they disclose, to label plans and contents with the words CONFIDENTIAL AND PROPRIETARY, and to seek legal counsel if they have any further questions regarding the legal protection of their ideas.

All public sessions of the Competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions.

Event organizer may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations including the written business plan and other documents, charts or material prepared for use in presentation at the Regional Business Plan Competition, and disseminate said materials in any promotional form. Contestants retain all proprietary rights to their ideas.


All colleges and universities in Michigan, both public and private are invited to participate.  We are excited to have financial support from Michigan Economic Development Organization and Amway.  However, we still need to grow the prize pool to have more substantial awards for the students.  We are asking all schools who wish to participate to provide a financial commitment ranging from $500 to $1000 that will go towards the prize money. 

$500 Membership

  • School name and logo will be included in the program, website, and other promotional materials
  • Any student from the institution can apply to MCSC
  • 1 team will be guaranteed to compete in Round 2 of the competition
  • Additional teams may be selected to compete in the final round.  Final round competitors will be selected primarily on rank and scoring that is based on review by an outside panel of judges

$1000 Membership

  • School name and logo will be included in the program, website, and other promotional materials
  • Any student from the institution can apply to MCSC
  • 2 teams will be guaranteed to compete in Round 2 of the competition
  • Additional teams may be selected to compete in the final round.  Final round competitors will be selected primarily on rank and scoring that is based on review by an outside panel of judges


Q: Do we have to make our presentation around the business model canvas?

  • No, please create your pitch around the following criteria:
    • Is the market size, value prop., competitive situation, financial and feasibility realistic?
    • Compelling story? Strong Team? Delivery professional? Visuals engaging?
    • What is the product and why is it distinctive?
    • Assumptions realistic? How will you make money?
    • What are the next milestones?  Likely to execute?


Q: Will I be able to change my slides after I submit them?

  • Finalists do not need to submit their pitch deck in advance.  During the competition, make sure you have your slides in a format that can be easily shared via Zoom.


Q: Can I have a video and audio on my slides? 

  • We encourage no video or audio on the slides as it can cause technical complications at the event.  If you decide to include video or audio, and there are errors during your presentation, you are taking that risk on your own.


Q: Is there a maximum amount of slides? 

  • You only have 5 minutes to pitch so we recommend about 10 max. 


Q: How do I apply and submit an executive summary?



Round 1 (Executive Summary): Preliminary Application

  • Applications Opens: August 6, 2021
  • Application Deadline: September 27, 2021
  • Semi-Finalists Announced: October 8, 2021
  • Mentor Session: Please work with your faculty member or entrepreneurship department to access mentoring and coaching assistance


Round 2 (Elevator Pitch Challenge):

90 Second Elevator Pitch:  November 5, 2021

  • Room A
  • Room B
  • Room C


Round 3 (Grand Startup Challenge):

Final round & Award Ceremony: November 5, 2021




Agenda for November 5, 2021


1:00 pm-1: 30 pm:  Students check in and Orientation

1:00-1:30 pm:  Judges check in and orientation

1:30-2:30 pm: 90 Second Elevator Pitch round (simultaneous tracks)

             Room A

             Room B

             Room C


2:30-3:00 pm:  Judges deliberation from Elevator Pitch round, 2 winners from each room


3:00-4:30pm:  Final Competition round (Top 10 teams)


4:30-5:00 pm:  Final Round Judges Deliberation


5:00 pm:  Announcement of Elevator Pitch and Grand Startup Challenge Winners


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