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U-M Students Pitch Eco-Friendly Startups for Launch by Detroit-based Nonprofit

11/28/2011 --

Vote online for the best "mini-business" and attend live trade show Nov. 30 at Ross.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Ross students participating in the school's groundbreaking Integrated Product Development (IPD) course will participate in a trade show Nov. 30 to pitch their options for a new mini-business that could be launched by Cass Community Social Services (CCSS) in Detroit. The nonprofit CCSS targets a diverse population and promotes self-reliance and community improvement; the agency offers access to affordable housing and job-skills training.

The Ross IPD course is offered in conjunction with U-M's College of Engineering and the School of Art & Design. This year students from each school worked together in teams to create a turnkey business manufacturing a product with input material that would otherwise enter the waste stream. Students had 14 weeks to deliver a fully functional prototype that ultimately can be replicated by CCSS members using affordable capital equipment and entry-level job skills.

IPD students always are challenged to work across disciplines to produce and market a fully functioning prototype defined by specific parameters. This marks the first time, however, that IPD students have collaborated to create a product and a business to benefit an external partner.

Products include:

The Hope Garden — Planter constructed from recycled glass and other materials.
Treads — Sandals constructed from discarded tires.
Motor City Strides — Sandals constructed from discarded tires.
Wine Bar — Wine rack produced from repurposed wood pallets.
Motor City Coolers — Portable cooler constructed from discarded tires and other materials.
Lumiere — Decorative lamp constructed from recycled and handmade paper.

View the options online and vote now for the best "Eco-Friendly Mini-Business." Experience the products and plans in person during the IPD Tradeshow Nov. 30 from 6-8 p.m. in the Ross School's Colloquium. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact:
Theresa Ceccarelli, (734) 647-0308,