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CSG partners with MPowered

By Molly Block, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 8, 2012

University students with an eye for entrepreneurial success may have the chance to put their skills to the test for the advancement of the University.

On Thursday, Central Student Government president Manish Parikh, a business senior, announced a new collaboration with the 1,000 Pitches campaign — an annual entrepreneurial competition hosted by MPowered Entrepreneurship — in an e-mail sent to University students. The campaign, titled “Let’s Change UM,” is a way to integrate student initiatives to improve the University and campus with its existing framework for entrepreneurial development.

“This year CSG is very focused on promoting entrepreneurship, as well as ‘returning Central Student Government back to the students,’” Parikh said. “Enabling students to effect the changes they dream about on campus using entrepreneurial solutions seemed like a natural reason to partner with MPowered and 1,000 Pitches.”

The 1,000 Pitches campaign started in 2007, and offers students the opportunity to present innovative ideas. The newly formed program has eight categories: environment, health, consumer products and small businesses, MProvements, education, web and software, tech and hardware, and mobile apps. The competition ends on Nov. 16, and is open to any student with an idea that can be conveyed in a 30-second video.

Last year’s winners of the competition included UM Speaks, a platform showcasing information on upcoming campus speakers, and Turtle Cell, a smart phone case that holds headphones to prevent them from tangling.

CSG’s campaign asks students to submit ideas to the 1,000 Pitches campaign in whatever category they choose, and the top four or five pitches will then be implemented to become reality. Parikh said within three hours of sending out the e-mail on Thursday, he received at least 150 responses ranging from tweets to page-long documents.

The winners CSG selects will be given access to necessary campus resources and administrative officials through CSG in order to successfully implement their projects.

Parikh said this will be made possible by giving students access to CSG’s Entrepreneurship Commission which will help them“ institutionalize their ideas by connecting them with the appropriate University administrators, and promoting the final solutions to the student body.”

Last year 1,000 Pitches received 3,303 pitches, according to LSA and Business School junior Scott Christopher, president of MPowered Entrepreneurship. This year, the group has already received more than 3,700 submissions, making it the world’s largest student-run elevator pitch — a proposal for an idea that can be given quickly — competition.

“This year we hope to reach 5,000 pitches while also having greater involvement with our 1,000 Pitches Summit,” Christopher said.

Eventually, Christopher said MPowered would like to extend the competition beyond the University.

“We would love to see 1,000 Pitches spread outside of Ann Arbor to other U of M campuses and to universities across the state and country,” Christopher said. “We are also tossing around the idea to expand to high schools.”