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Consumers Energy And The Heat And Warmth Fund Offer Community Transformation Prize

$10,000 and entrepreneurship training will be awarded to finalist in the 2014 Michigan Entrepreneurial Challenge

JACKSON, Mich., March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of the Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, a competition designed to advance ideas and solutions to address Michigan's social challenges, Consumers Energy and The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) announced today a co-sponsorship of the "Community Transformation" prize to encourage innovative solutions that move income qualified individuals and communities toward self-sufficiency.

"We are thrilled to support the development of innovative ideas in the social sector, especially collaborations that improve quality of life for those living in at risk communities," said Patti Poppe, vice president of customer experience, rates and regulation at Consumers Energy.

Consumers Energy and THAW are seeking social entrepreneurs and non-profits across Michigan that demonstrate meaningful collaboration with an established business entity to better their communities.  The prize specifically seeks innovative solutions (products, services, technologies) to move income qualified individuals and communities toward greater levels of self-sufficiency.

The Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge invites individuals and teams to submit plans for an emerging idea or existing venture with a sustainable solution to a clearly defined social problem in areas including, but not limited to, chronic unemployment, health and nutrition, the environment, urban revitalization, and education. 

"The "Community Transformation" prize models our unique relationship with Consumers Energy and also demonstrates the power of connecting social innovators and corporations to drive positive change," said Susan Sherer, THAW, CEO.

In its second year, the Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge will offer prize tracks and networking programs specific to entrepreneurs seeking to launch or grow social ventures in the Detroit and Flint areas.  Participants will compete for more than $60,000 in prizes. Competition finalists will be granted admission to Michigan Corps' Impact Investment Fellowship, a four-month training institute to ready top social entrepreneurs for investment at and above the $50,000 level.

"The Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge has shown us the depth and breadth of entrepreneurial talent and social innovation happening across our state at a local level", said MEDC President and CEO Michael Finney. "We are thrilled to see numerous partners come alongside us in 2014 to draw in and elevate entrepreneurs working to enhance quality of life in communities around our state and in particular, in Detroit and Flint."

"The motivation and training I've received from The Social Entrepreneurship Challenge has not only helped my company, it has helped me to become a better owner.  Thank you for helping me to develop a strong path to success," said Amanda Godward, Ecotelligent Homes and Consumers Energy/THAW 'Fostering Energy Affordability' Prize Winner 2013.

Beginning March 6, social entrepreneurs from across the state are invited to register for the competition. Applicants will be eligible to attend online classes, neighborhood tours and networking events to support the development of their submission before the May 30, 2014 deadline.  A statewide Social Entrepreneurship Showcase & Summit Event will take place in June to announce winners and celebrate social innovation across Michigan.

To learn more and register for the competition, visit http://michigancorps.org/TheChallenge.

SOURCE Consumers Energy

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