Entrepreneurial bus tour rolls into Detroit

AOL co-founder Steve Case awarding $100,000 for business start-up

DETROIT - Calling all creative geniuses.  

AOL co-founder Steve Case is rolling into town and making Detroit his first stop on a unique bus tour.

As one of the richest entrepreneurs in the business, Case hopes to spread the success with other local hopefuls who have been given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to him, along with a panel of other judges. Case intends to select his top choice from the ten different organizations, and will award them with a $100,000 investment to start up their business.

Today is a game-changer, and these local entrepreneurs are only given five minutes to lay out the facts and give their best business pitch.

"We have a self-service quote tool," said local hopeful, Patrick Paul of GridPar. "You use that tool to enter your address and draw it to your roof to get a solar estimate of how much it would cost to re-do your rooftop."

This candidate is like many others among those hoping to impress Case and get their businesses up and running to help sculpt the future of Detroit.

"There have been a lot of challenges in Detroit, particularly in the last 10 years, and it feels like it's at a tipping point and fighting its way back," said Case. "The reason to be excited is not just for what's happening with the big companies, but for what happening with the start-up ones downtown."

Mary Grove, director of Google's entrepreneurial outreach, who was among Case and the other judges today looks at the concept with a broader perspective.

"We believe that entrepreneurship is not a phenomenon of Silicon Valley, but that the talent really is global," she said.

Chosen or not, this isn't just a big opportunity for metro Detroiters to show off their great idea, but it's also an opportunity for them to learn from the experience and keep striving to make their business even better.

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