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Social Entrepreneurship Challenge wants your ideas to reduce energy use, make energy more affordable

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Do you have an idea that will reduce energy consumption or make energy more affordable to lower-income areas? If so, bring it forward and you might just win $10,000 that will help you turn your idea into a reality. 

logo --social enterprise challengeAs part of the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, the Heating and Warmth Fund (THAW) and Consumers Energy are sponsoring the Fostering Energy Affordability category to encourage scalable solutions to reduce energy consumption and the development of tools that reduce energy costs in low-income neighborhoods. They are offering a $10,000 prize to an emerging company with market traction in these areas and a $5,000 prize for the best new business idea.

The Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge is a competition designed to advance ideas and solutions to address Michigan’s social challenges. The “Fostering Energy Affordability” category is new to program.  Consumer Energy and THAW will also support events and programs that relate to their sponsored category for those participating in the challenge. 

Consumers-Energy-logo“We are thrilled to support the development of innovative ideas in the social sector, especially around energy,” said Patti Poppe, vice president of customer experience and operations at Consumers Energy.           

The Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge was created by Michigan Corps, in partnership with Great Lakes Entrepreneurs’ Quest (GLEQ) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), with the goal of encouraging both teams and individuals to come up with ideas for emerging companies or a new business that helps aide the state with positive social change.  The categories are many and include, among others, urban revitalization, energy, environment, health and education.           

thawfund“This is a great opportunity to tap the talent that exists in the state of Michigan,” said Susan Sherer, CEO of THAW. “We have some innovative thinkers in this state and it will be exciting to see the ideas that come forward.” 

 The $15,000 in awards will not be the only thing handed out by Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge by way of “Fostering Energy Affordability.”  The Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge will award more than $50,000 in MEDC-sponsored cash prizes, as well as provide coaching, mentorship, networking and resources to advance new ideas and emerging organizations that create new solutions to persistent social problems.           

“In rewarding the best new ideas in energy efficiency, this competition will boost Michigan’s home-grown entrepreneurs and jump-start new business ventures, and at the same time help our cash-strapped cities save energy and money,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. 

The registration date has been pushed back from the original on March 27 to April 10 to accommodate the newly announced “Fostering Energy Affordability” category.  All of those participating will be given full access to events to help with their entries and aide them in meeting the May 20 deadline.   A special Social Entrepreneurship Showcase and Pitch event will take place on June 18 at GLEQ’s Entrepreneur Connect event in Lansing. 

To apply or learn more about the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge visit . For more information, contact Michigan Corps Director Elizabeth Garlow at

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