The World’s Biggest Collegiate Entrepreneurship Competition

Today, we are celebrating the success of our 1000 pitches competition. Check out the University of Michigan press release for details – in particular, watch the movie on that site. Here is the speech I gave at the final event:

“Dear entrepreneurs, students and friends – I am very excited to be here today. To me, this is one of the most exciting events at the University of Michigan since I joined here in 2007. We read the newspapers today and it’s tough not to get depressed: bailouts, market woes, poverty and worldwide challenges such as global climate change or the challenge for social justice on Earth. It is obvious that this is a time of change – and that is sometimes quite frightening.

But frankly, I am one of the most optimistic people you will ever meet. My optimism does not come from the fact that I know the solutions to these challenges – I don’t even understand all of them! My optimism is coming from what you all have shown in this competition—your thousand-plus ideas, and your willingness to pursue them! That’s what Michigan needs, that what the world needs. Because you are today’s entrepreneurs and tomorrow’s leaders!

Your ideas, together with the value of the education we give to you here at the University of Michigan, will provide the ingredients to the solutions of all challenges. In fact, I do not know a University that is better positioned to address these challenges because it takes a diversity of approaches and views until we understand the problem. Also, it takes many of us to address them. That’s what the 1000 pitches competition is about.

MPowered Entrepreneurship, together with many university partners, especially the Greek system, have collaborated in collecting your ideas. I cannot say enough about MPowered. You know, I was there when the founders of MPowered were discussing their vision for an Entrepreneurship student organization. We were in the Bay Area thinking about what our potential can be. MPowered started as an entrepreneurial entity. I have been there observing how MPowered is growing and is taking on challenges. To me, the 1000 pitches competition is precisely what MPowered is about: a major voice on campus to engage students in entrepreneurship, and actually support students in their pursuits towards entrepreneurial goals.

When I get worried about things, I think of you and about the people of MPowered and their enormous potential to address the many challenges at hand. It’s an honor to work with you guys! “

Comments (2)
  • Ashwin Lalendran

    December 11, 2008

    Professor Zurbuchen, the honor has been ours. It takes two to tango and the MPowered team could not have chosen a better faculty advisor. Your empowering attitude is part of the organization’s foundation and success. GO BLUE.

  • Thomas Zurbuchen

    December 13, 2008

    Thanks, Ashwin. BTW – here is another press-release.. I love the video!!

    Nothing cooler than people standing back and saying “my idea is”! Ok, there is one cooler thing: to put the idea into action… (;

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