ANN ARBOR—Communicating your end-of-life wishes could be one of the most important things you can do for your health and your family. So why don't more people take the time to complete advance directives and share them with their loved ones?
That's a question that led three University of Michigan graduate students to develop Canopy, an online application that walks users through a step-by-step process modeled after TurboTax, with the goal of turning a complex process into something simple and user-friendly.
"It's been an awesome experience to bring to life what we're learning in the classroom," said Elisabeth Michel, a Canopy co-founder and a student at the School of Public Health.
Michel and her partners, Ann Duong and Brandon Keelean, joined forces through Innovation in Action: Solutions to Real-World Challenges, a five-month, universitywide challenge led by the School of Public Health that stimulates innovative, collaborative undergraduate and graduate students to address real-world problems.
Canopy is among more than 60 ventures that University of Michigan students across campus are pushing forward with support from the institution's top-ranked entrepreneurial programs. Details of more student startups and endeavors are published today in the second annual Made at Michigan report.
The report, available as a print magazine-style publication or a sortable web version, shines a bright spotlight on ventures over a broad range of disciplines, including for-profits, social ventures, and innovative new products and services with market potential.
"Whether launching a nonprofit organization to help children study science or working with our expert faculty to develop a device to improve disease detection, U-M students use their entrepreneurial skills to develop innovative solutions to the problems we face as a society," said U-M President Mark Schlissel.
Ventures highlighted in Made at Michigan 2017 include:
- AIM Tech: A medical technology company whose first product, NeoVent, is a no power, easy-to-use respiratory therapy device designed for premature newborns.
- CellScope Retina: A portable, affordable and easy-to-use smartphone-based camera that decreases the barrier for retinal screening for eye diseases.
- SAHI Cosmetics: Makeup that is custom-designed for women of medium skin tones who are underserved by the cosmetics industry.
- Sage & Grace: Endeavors to shake up the funeral industry so that those with limited resources can better plan for end-of-life issues.
Innovate Blue connects and unites U-M's nationally top-ranked entrepreneurship programs, including more than 15 centers and programs in entrepreneurship and more than 30 entrepreneurial student organizations. Taken together, these programs encourage innovation, creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit that spurs economic development and contributes to the public good.