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Tablet accessory wins Michigan startup competition

A group of entrepreneurs recently won the top prize at a competition aimed at supporting the creation of new businesses and supporting fledgling companies across Michigan. MLive hosted Startup Weekend Kalamazoo, which pitted four teams of prospective business people against each other and recognized the potential of each team's business idea. The event's panel included regional business leaders with Michigan firms like Blue Granite, Maestro and MLive.

The top team, headed by a current student in Western Michigan University's engineering design technology program, impressed the event's three judges with a deceptively simple product designed to make the handling of iPads and other tablet computers easier and safer. The group explained that they developed their product, named Gripp-It, after being inspired by a university project centered around handheld objects.

The panel was apparently impressed by the Gripp-It. It's simple but has remarkably useful functions. The product is composed of an elastic-like material that stretches over and tightly grips tablet computers, helping users more securely grip their devices. The Gripp-It's rubbery surface and flexible bumpers also absorb shock in the event a device is dropped. As such, the product is well-suited to protecting tablets from a number of potential hazards.

Although the Gripp-It ultimately took Startup Weekend Kalamazoo's highest prize, several other business ideas were honored as well. Included were a software application designed to facilitate cost-effective online advertisement for other businesses and another program designed to streamline the tracking of events taking place at multiple locales. In all, four entries were acknowledged for their inventive concepts and quality execution.

Startup Weekend Kalamazoo is one of several initiatives at revitalizing Michigan's economy with unique and modern products and services. For some firms, the process of developing and improving the ideas behind a business can be compared to the complicated legal work that accompanies the formation of a private business. This makes it crucial for any prospective entrepreneur to seek qualified legal advice.

Source: MLive, "Gripp-It, a device for holding tablets, wins Startup Weekend Kalamazoo" Mickey Ciokajio, Nov. 24, 2013

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