U-M Ann Arbor and Flint to Collaborate on Flint Problem-Solving Challenge

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UM-Flint business students
UM-Flint business students

Students are coming together to find solutions for Flint in a contest that will net one group a $2,500 cash prize and the opportunity to make their plan a reality.

The University of Michigan-Flint is partnering with the Ann Arbor campus in the 2017 Social Impact Challenge, an annual contest put on by the Ann Arbor Ross School of Business Center for Social Impact. The center has worked with several other organizations in the past and this year is collaborating with UM-Flint's University Outreach.

The goal of the contest is to advance entrepreneurship efforts in Flint to revive neighborhood centers and city corridors for economic development.

"The opportunity to partner with the Ann Arbor campus on meaningful social change in our city is very exciting. We look forward to having ongoing dialogue between the campuses on Flint's future," Paula Nas, Interim Director of University Outreach at UM-Flint, said.

Student teams will be presented with a case statement and will work together to find solutions by working in Flint with partner organizations. This year teams will be created by students at both Flint and Ann Arbor campuses. The winning team will receive $2,500 and the opportunity to put their plan into practice during the coming months.

The Center for Social Impact has hosted previous challenges in Detroit, partnering with civic, community, and nonprofit organizations to tackle pressing strategic issues in the urban environment. In 2016, students tackled strategic and operational questions to help launch Detroit PAL's Kids At the Corner Campaign in partnership with the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, which involved the redevelopment of the historic field.

In 2017, in addition to the partnership between the two University of Michigan campuses, teams will be working with community partners the City of Flint, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, and Skypoint Ventures—a venture capital and real estate company with strong social impact ties.

"It's exciting to move the challenge to Flint this year, where so much is going on, but where there is also so much potential," says Glenn Bugala, marketing manager for the Center for Social Impact.

There are a number of events between January and March. Students will meet with UM-Flint Outreach in Flint January 18 and in Ann Arbor on January 24 to kick-off the event. On Friday, January 27, all participants will have a site visit in Flint with key stakeholders.

Students must register their teams for the Challenge by Tuesday, February 7.

On Wednesday, March 15th in Flint, the final pitches and the winning team will be presented. There will also be special speakers and events surrounding the Challenge on that day.

For further information check with UM-Flint Outreach at http://www.umflint.edu/outreach or with the Center for Social Impact online at http://socialimpact.umich.edu.

Ongoing updates throughout the Challenge will be available on Twitter via the hashtag #MSIC17.

Contact University Communications & Marketing with comments, questions, or story ideas.