Students holding a big check

Our final EHour session for the winter semester went out with a bang thanks to Fuel Finale, which wrapped up the EHour series on one last innovative note. The atmosphere was buzzing as student entrepreneurs from U-M geared up to pitch their ideas. Under the guidance of Eric Bacyinski, the audience critiqued each pitch with a sharp investor’s perspective.

These­ standout teams from previous Fuel competitions were on hand to pitch the crowd:

Devon Riter and Himanish Kolli from Community Connect shared their vision of using AI to transform K-12 education into a community-building tool for Michigan’s science teachers.

Ethan Marshall from CORE introduced a software platform that leverages machine learning to improve diversity and inclusiveness in clinical trials, particularly by reaching underrepresented groups effectively.

Ananyo Bhattacharya and Sivani Manimaran from NeoNest presented their nonprofit’s mission to combat global infant hypothermia with innovative, non-electric warming solutions.

The audience voted to fund NeoNest, which earned the team an additional $3,000 for their life-saving neonatal incubator. Community Connect and CORE also received $1,000 each for their pioneering work in education and equitable clinical research.

The Center for Entrepreneurship is thrilled with the response to the Fuel program in its inaugural year. We attracted 40 teams spanning various disciplines, surpassing our expectations. In total, nine ventures secured funding totaling over $36,000, and all teams benefited from valuable feedback from 16 expert judges. The diverse group of 68 students involved—from Information, Business, Engineering, Education, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts—demonstrates CFE’s commitment to inclusivity and collaborative innovation. This success sets a strong foundation for the future of U-M’s entrepreneurial community.

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