QTEK and Neuvokas Corp. competed with 250-plus top notch entrants.

HOUGHTON, MI (Nov. 11, 2015) – Two Upper Peninsula companies were selected among 10 winning finalists at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition in Detroit, Nov. 5th. QTEK LLC founders Dr. Bowen Li and Amy Zhi won in the Life Science sector, earning $25,000 to advance their antimicrobial additive technology, Surfion. Surfion is a natural, mineral-based additive that when applied to virtually any surface, prevents bacteria growth for the life of the product.


Earning the People’s Choice Award and $10,000 was Ahmeek-based Neuvokas Corporation. The company manufactures a game-changing rebar product, GatorBar™, for the construction industry that’s seven times lighter than steel, is non-corrosive and sells for the same price.


Accelerate Michigan is one of many funding opportunities MTEC SmartZone encourages early-stage companies to take advantage of. Both companies benefited significantly from the support resources and entrepreneurial coaching MTEC SmartZone provided in preparation for the competition.


Accelerate Michigan is a global business competition designed to highlight Michigan as a vibrant venue for innovation and business opportunity. The competition fuels innovation-based business growth by showcasing the best and brightest new ventures to potential investors to help foster their growth in Michigan.


The competition is open to any early-stage business anywhere in the world that has a strong technology or concept with significant growth potential. Companies compete in one of eight sectors: advanced materials, advanced transportation, alternative energy, information technology, life science, medical devices, next generation manufacturing, and products and services. Up for grabs is a $500,000 Grand Prize and total of $1 million in awards of cash and in-kind prizes.


Of the 250-plus companies that entered, 50 were selected to pitch their business concepts to a panel of venture capitalists. Accelerate Michigan is one of North America’s largest business competitions, with more than 80 venture and angel investors on hand. Early-stage companies have the opportunity to network with top investors and learn from other firms seeking to grow their business.


Accelerate Michigan has been featuring top tech companies and investment opportunities for the past six years. With assistance from MTEC SmartZone, REL, Inc. earned $50,000 and LiteBrake Tech, LLC won $25,000 at Accelerate Michigan in 2013.


MTEC SmartZone CEO Marilyn Clark said, “Every year the quality of the companies gets better because of the ecosystem in Michigan. MTEC SmartZone and the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) helps with coaching each team. These companies are all helping to grow the Michigan’s economy.”


State Representative Scott Dianda, commended MTEC SmartZone for fostering entrepreneurial spirit in the U.P. “With hundreds of jobs created since its inception, MTEC SmartZone has been a leader in technology innovation and business startups,” Dianda said. “I’m excited to hear that two U.P. companies were among the 10 finalists at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. I’m proud of the work MTEC SmartZone does to promote economic growth right here at home.”


For more information about Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, visit http://acceleratemichigan.org/.



For more information about MTEC SmartZone, visit http://mtecsz.com/.