Student entrepreneurs invited to apply for Lear Open Innovation Challenge

Do you dream of being a CEO in your own startup? The Lear Corporation invites you to compete in the Lear Open Innovation Challenge. This competition is open to Wayne State students of all levels, and no prior experience is required.

When you attend, you will join an interdisciplinary team of engineers and business entrepreneurs from WSU, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and University of Michigan–Dearborn for a tournament-style competition. The challenge kicks off with a two-day innovation "Jumpstart" workshop on March 18 and 19. Then, on April 1, you'll pitch your solution to Lear executives and venture capitalists in downtown Detroit at the new Lear Innovation Center. 

During the program, students will:

  • Be trained to use Lear's accelerated innovation process
  • Participate in creating ideas for the future of mobility and vehicle connectivity
  • Practice sales and pitching skills 
  • Have access to innovation coaches as well as Lear technology development experts 
  • Learn how to develop a solution to advance technology and manufacturing for one of Detroit's core organizations
  • Connections with faculty at Wayne State, UM-Dearborn and UM-Ann Arbor
  • Create a new solution to better an organization
  • Get an exclusive tour of Lear's headquarters
  • Network with top venture capitalists in Detroit
  • Best of all, be part of what's happening in Detroit alongside Lear CEO and Mike Ilitch School of Business alumnus Matt Simoncini

Top teams can earn cash and prizes, and top performing participants will be offered an opportunity to continue incubating Lear innovation projects throughout the summer (and/or fall) as Lear Innovation Fellows.

Students should apply online by March 9 at 8 p.m. Those selected to participate will be notified on or before March 13. Please send any questions about your application to

For more information on the competition, Detroit entrepreneurship and the Lear Innovation Center, watch this Autoline interview with Simoncini

150 years in the heart of Detroit