Consumers Energy and The Heat And Warmth Fund Join Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge

   Consumers Energy and The Heat And Warmth Fund Join Pure Michigan Social
                          Entrepreneurship Challenge

$15,000 and entrepreneurship training to be awarded for ideas and solutions
addressing energy affordability and efficiency

PR Newswire

LANSING, Mich., March 15, 2013

LANSING, Mich., March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --As part of the Pure Michigan
Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, Consumers Energy and The Heat and Warmth
Fund (THAW) are sponsoring the "Fostering Energy Affordability" category and
will award a $10,000 cash prize for a social venture with market traction and
a $5,000 cash prize for the best new business idea. The two organizations are
seeking entrepreneurs presenting scalable solutions to encourage reduction in
energy use and tool development to foster energy affordability within
low-income communities.

In this new "Fostering Energy Affordability" category, Consumers Energy and
THAW are seeking scalable solutions that encourage reductions in energy use
and development of tools to foster energy affordability within low-income
communities. As part of the sponsorship, Consumers and THAW will also support
events and relevant programs for participants in The Challenge. There is a
$10,000 cash prize for an emerging company and a $5,000 cash prize for new
business idea.

"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.

Created by Michigan Corps, in partnership with Great Lakes Entrepreneurs'
Quest (GLEQ) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), The
Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge invites individuals and teams
to submit plans for an emerging company or a new business idea focused on
sustainable social change in a wide range of areas including but not limited
to urban revitalization, energy, environment, health, and education.

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

In addition to the $15,000 award for the "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 deadline will be extended to April 10th to accommodate this
newly announced "Fostering Energy Affordability" Prize, however, applicants
who register before the overall deadline of March 27th will be guaranteed a
coach to support the preparation of their submission. Those registering after
March 27th will be matched with a coach if one is available. All participants
will have access to special events to support the development of their entry
to be submitted by the May 20, 2013 deadline. A special Social
Entrepreneurship Showcase and Pitch event will take place on June 18 at GLEQ's
Entrepreneur Connect event in Lansing, MI.

To apply or learn more about the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship
Challenge visit http://michigancorps.org/TheChallenge. For more information,
contact Michigan Corps Director Elizabeth Garlow at egarlow@michigancorps.org

SOURCE Consumers Energy; The Heat And Warmth Fund (THAW)

Website: http://michigancorps.org/TheChallenge
Contact: The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW): Jason Brown, +1-248-663-6166; or
Consumers Energy: Roger Morgenstern, +1-616-530-4364
 
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