Letter to the Advisors of the Participants of the DTE Clean Energy Competition

Dear colleagues, faculty advisors and mentors of our student entrepreneurs:

 We had a wonderful event last week—three fantastic student groups won close to $100k in the DTE CLean Energy Competition. This was a great symbol for entrepreneurship, and also a wonderful entrepreneurial beginning for many of these students. We had well over 100 students participating in this competition, most as a candidate, others to enable the competition from a logistics point of view.

 The DTE Clean Energy competition was our first attempt to do a topical business plan competition across campus. Much has been said about the sponsors, the organizers, MPowered doing its magic, and many others. But ultimately, the competition was only successful because of the partnership of so many of you and your commitment to success!

Therefore, I wanted to personally thank all of you. You were not on stage last week, but you are the true enablers: the innovators, mentors and faculty advisors of these teams. Your involvement has surprised me many times. I see some of our best students walking up to a cliff, and you put the parachutes on their backs. I immediately see the passion your advice and support instills in them!

Thus, your role is of tremendous importance for the success of everything we seek to accomplish in entrepreneurship. It’s your innovations, your leadership, and your ability to serve as examples for the kind of faculty who, in my humble opinion, are the lifeblood for the College of Engineering and University of Michigan leadership aspirations we all share.

I am also aware that many of you work on your annual reviews. I know that you do not currently get a lot of kudos for this very important work. I hope we can work together so that accomplishments like, “Supported a student entrepreneurship team”, or “Spun out company with grad student” are valued like that cool paper in Science or Nature we all chase!

I am also very interested in your feedback. We need to keep improving what we are doing now. If you have any suggestions or ideas, I would love to receive them by email or in a meeting we can set up.

Comments (2)
  • Cool

    April 5, 2009

    Congratulations on the successful project. But Im just wondering, does this project/ competition aims to help the declining economy of the US? Because basing on your article you have organized a competition on creating Clean energy. But your article is focused on the entrepreneurial part. Where in I am expecting to hear more about the projects that the students made. These projects can’t not just make our purse to be thick but the also can save mother earth, on the same time help our people. Well I guest il just wait for the article concerning the descriptions of the projects made by the students.

  • Thomas Zurbuchen

    April 13, 2009

    Check out the stories in: http://cfe.engin.umich.edu/press. The companies are described.

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