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MICHauto Supports Student Entrepreneurs in Lear Open Innovation Challenge

By Daniel Lai

To continue to foster Detroit’s innovation community, Lear Corp. held an Open Innovation Challenge on April 1, which brought together six teams made up of students from three universities (University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University) for a tournament-style pitch competition.

Throughout the day, Lear executives, corporate and community sponsors, and venture capitalists heard 15-minute pitches on solutions for advance technology and manufacturing.

The winning team received a prize package including a summer internship from Lear; prototyping kit, wireframing workshop and mentorship from Universal Mind; cash cards from POCOLab; a Fern task chair and ideation workshop from Haworth; breakfast with automotive executives, courtesy of MICHauto; and a Shinola watch.

“We’re trying to build an innovation ecosystem in Detroit that can connect the dots with various essential components, including startups, universities, businesses and venture capitalists. We want these bright and talented students to become a part of the driving force that creates a sustainable economic engine in Detroit and Michigan,” said Staney DeGraff, CEO of Innovatrium, which helped organize the event.

Daniel Lai is a communications specialist and copywriter at the Detroit Regional Chamber. 

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