Eastern Michigan University names $25K winner of Executive Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Venture Challenge program

Emily Dabish Yahkind in her home office with her environmentally-conscious SolSummit wines.
(Photo by Doug Coombe for Concentrate)

YPSILANTI – Offering budding entrepreneurs with innovative ideas a shot at developing their companies is the goal of the Eastern Michigan University Executive Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Venture Challenge program. Recently, Emily Dabish Yahkind was selected among 14 entrepreneurs in the program and awarded a $25K prize after pitching her idea to a panel of business leaders from southeast Michigan.

This is the fourth installation of the program, an eight-week hybrid program that offers business instruction, professional coaching, mentorship, networking, and the chance at a $25,000 business expense fund.

“The panel awarded Emily’s startup because of its uniqueness, consumer appeal and growth potential,” said Sanjib Chowdhury, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. “Her passion for meeting the unique demands within the beverage industry will help move her business forward. We aim to reach more entrepreneurs like Emily in our upcoming cohorts and help accelerate their business goals.”

Dabish Yahkind owns Ann Arbor-based SolSummit, a premium canned wine that is certified sustainable, estate-grown, low intervention, and vegan. The company launched in July 2022 and appeals to individuals who enjoy the outdoors, appreciate gourmet products, and are environmentally conscious. Recently, the wine brand partnered with Lanterna Distributors and expanded its reach to include Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C., and Northern Virginia. 

Consumers who prefer portability can find SolSummit in 200 stores across Michigan and the Mid-Atlantic region. The $25k prize will allow the company to place a deposit on the upcoming vineyard allocation, which will help secure future inventory – a necessary component in a company’s wine profile. 

Dabish Yahkind said there’s a formula to creating a company. “It takes resilience, patience, and flexibility,” she said. “Trust your instincts but don't be afraid to seek the advice of others and pivot when necessary. I want to remind the aspiring entrepreneur of the importance of balancing staying true to herself and maintaining an openness to new ideas.”

Aspiring entrepreneurs with scalable business ideas and high growth potential are encouraged to apply for the next cohort beginning Sept. 30th. The application deadline is Sept. 6. For more information or to apply, visit the website.  

About the Center for Entrepreneurship
Established in 1986, EMU's Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) strives to enhance a culture of entrepreneurship in the EMU community by supporting a strong entrepreneurship curriculum and offering a variety of co-curricular programs. The CFE also encourages local entrepreneurship by engaging EMU students and faculty in innovation, business creation and growth in southeast Michigan.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

May 10, 2023

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher