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.

Detroit entrepreneur wins $100,000

Devin: ONE OF THE REAL LUMINARIES CAME LOOKING FOR THE BRIGHTEST YOUNG MIND. Ruth: STEVE CASE PUT $100,000 ON THE TABLE FOR THE BEST IDEA. PAULA TUTMAN JOINS US ONCE AGAIN. DO YOU KNOW THE WINNER? Paula: YEAH, HE'S STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO ME. THIS HAS BEEN A FASCINATING DAY. AND PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO INVEST IN DETROIT AND WITH ME IS NATHAN LABENZ FROM STIK.COM, THE WINNER AND GOT A GREAT BIG CHECK FOR $100,000 FROM THIS CASE, STEVE CASE, FROM AOL AND CEO OF REVOLUTION. TELL US WHAT YOUR BUSINESS IS AND HOW TOUGH IT WAS IT PITCHING TO THIS GUY FOR FIVE MINUTES? THE BUSINESS IS A BUSINESS THAT HELPS OTHER BUSINESSES LEVERAGE CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORIES TO ACHIEVE GROWTH. Paula: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN PLAIN ENGLISH TO THOSE OVER 40? THINK OF REVIEWS OR TESTIMONIALS AND BUSINESSES DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE IT. WE HELP THEM CAPTURE THE GREAT STORIES AND DISTRIBUTE THEM IN AN INTELLIGENT WAY SO THAT OTHER NEWER CUSTOMERS CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT MAKES THE BUSINESS GREAT. Paula: THAT SEEMS SO ESOTERICA TO ME. THE COMMUNITY IS ALIVE AND WELL, PARTICULARLY IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA, I WAS DELIGHTED ALL DAY TO SEE THE MOMENTUM. BUT THIS COMPANY HAS IDENTIFIED A PROBLEM THAT NEEDS HELP. TECHNOLOGY CAN BE PART OF THE ANSWER. THEY HAVE ABOUT A MILLION DOLLARS AND ARE RUNNING GREAT AND SIGNING UP BIG PARTNERS. I LOVE THE STORY, THEY STARTED THE COMPANY IN SAN FRANCISCO AND DECIDED TO MOVE TO DETROIT AND MOVE TO THE COMPANY HERE. YOU USUALLY HERE THEY START IN DETROIT, CINCINNATI, OTHER PLACES AND FEEL THEY HAVE TO MOVE AWAY TO SAN FRANCISCO OR NEW YORK CITY. HERE, IT'S THE REVERSE, AND IT'S A REAL SIGN THAT DETROIT IS REALLY ROCKIN' AND ROLLIN' IN TERMS OF THE START-UP COMMUNITY. Paula: AND HOW NERVOUS WERE YOU? BECAUSE YOU SEEMED PRETTY CONFIDENT? I ALWAYS GET A LITTLE BIT NERVOUS BEFORE I GIVE A SPEECH. Paula: YOU GOT A HANDSHAKE AND A PAT ON THE SHOULDER FROM THIS GUY. HOW WILL IT GROW YOUR BUSINESS? YOU NEED GREAT MENTORS AND ADVISORS, AND FOR US, THE MOST EXCITING THING ABOUT THIS WHOLE OPPORTUNITY TO WIN AND SUCH AN HONOR TO BE RECOGNIZED IS TO HAVE GREAT PEOPLE LIKE STEVE INVOLVED IN THE BUSINESS AND BE ABLE TO TAP INTO ALL THE THINGS THAT HE'S LEARNED OVER THE YEARS. Paula: AND HE KNOWS YOU'RE HERE. AND SOME OF THE MISTAKES MADE OVER THE YEARS. Paula: THANK YOU FOR COMING TO DETROIT. THANK YOU FOR BELIEVING IN US! CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU! THANK YOU! Paula: HOPE THE CHECK IS IN THE MAIL. WHAT AN EXCITING DAY! Ruth: AND A GREAT ADVISOR.