Lansing Built to Last : A startup jackpot

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that businesses must be able to endure difficult circumstances. They must have a strategy in place and be prepared to make it through the toughest of times.

Lansing Built to Last invites all entrepreneurs and idea-makers to submit their emergency-resistant business proposals for the opportunity to win a year's worth of services to help launch their business. Your idea must require a physical space downtown, must withstand emergency circumstances, and must enhance the community that surrounds it.

Who and Why

We’re a collection of local sponsor organizations that want to strengthen downtown Lansing—especially for when times get tough. We want to find businesses that bring people together, even when we’re apart. That’s why we pooled together our ideas and resources to award the winning business a suite of crucial services to get them up and running through their first year of operation.

Our Sponsors

So, what’s in the bag?

First place of the Lansing Built to Last will receive a location in downtown Lansing with a full year of business services and expenses.

This includes one year of:

  • Free rent
  • Physical renovation budget
  • Free energy efficiency consulting
  • Free legal counsel
  • Free business banking and financial services
  • Free branding, marketing, and website creation
  • Free IT support
  • Free publicity support

The winner will also receive $500 to be used for business insurance or whatever expense they see fit.

If you’re a lifelong resident who’s always had a great idea and wants their community to thrive, this competition is for you. Now could be the time to start your very own business—with a whole portfolio of support to make it succeed.

The Space

Curious about the physical space? You're looking at 3,083 square feet right in the heart of downtown.

228 S. Washington Square
Suite #100
Lansing, MI 48933


Applications must describe a business that…

  • is brand new or a business that has been established for two years or less.
  • contributes to the economic development of the downtown Lansing area.
  • is able to operate physically downtown during the pandemic and after.

These criteria are demonstrated by:

  • After 5pm sustainable
  • Weekend attraction
  • Downtown Lansing presence
  • Employs Lansing residents
  • Business plan ready by June 2021

In a nutshell, this competition is designed to spark entrepreneurial action in the downtown Lansing community and reward those who present detailed plans on creating a new business enterprise. The business plans must propose a venture that will be lawful, financially profitable, COVID resistant, and create new Lansing jobs.

Anatomy of the competition

Part 1

By 5:00 PM on Saturday, March 20, 2021

participants must submit an electronic Intent to Compete Form, including a business proposal, for their new venture idea.

Part 2

By 5:00 PM on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

the electronic business plan—max. 20 pages of text and additional max. 10 pages of appendices—must be submitted. All participants are invited to optionally attend 2 Day Venture April 9 - 10 to workshop their ideas before the submission date. The top five business plans will be selected by Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Pitches will be recorded at Greenwood Studios on Thursday, April 29, 2021 and Friday, April 30, 2021. We'll work with competitors to establish the exact time and day of their recording.

Part 3

On Friday, May 7, 2021

contestants will present their business plans in a livestream for up to 10 minutes with five minutes for Q&A with the panel of sponsors. This virtual event will be live and a winner will be selected.

Who’s Eligible?

  • Competition open to all Michigan residents.
  • Competition open to individuals and teams.
  • Applicants under the age of 18 must be part of a team with at least one member who is 18 or older.
  • An individual or team can submit only one entry.
  • An individual cannot be a member of more than one team.
  • An individual cannot submit individually while also part of a team.
  • Students are encouraged to apply.

Ready to apply? Here’s how

Individual or team competitors must submit an electronic Intent to Compete Form by March 20, 2021.

The business plan is due by 5:00 PM on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. You'll email it in response to the application confirmation we'll send you.

Pitches will be recorded at Greenwood Studios on April 29, 2021 and April 30, 2021. We'll work with you to establish an exact time and day.

Contestants must agree to the following stipulations:

  • They will abide by all the guidelines and rules of the competition.
  • They are responsible for all copyright, trademark, and patent issues.
Apply Now

Lansing Built to last timeline

March 20 Intent to Compete Form Due
April 9 - 10 2 Day Venture
April 14 Business plan due
April 21 Final five competitors selected
April 29-30 Pitches recorded
May 7 Final presentations