College Student Awarded for Eco-Friendly Lawn Care Idea

Electric lawnmower provides autonomous mowing, reducing both operating costs and carbon footprint.

A Western Michigan University student taking part in the student business accelerator known as Starting Gate has won the GreenLight Michigan Business Model Competition's Whirlpool Award of $5,000 for his eco-friendly lawn care idea.

Tyler Lemke of Kawkawlin, MI, pitched his company, AutoMowticCo, during the final round of the competition, earning the Whirlpool Award for his electric lawn mower company, which provides monitored autonomous mowing. The Whirlpool $5,000 Home and Housewares Award is awarded for an innovation that helps keep homes running smoothly.

"Our machine will not only reduce lawn care costs, but also will reduce the carbon footprint we leave behind," says Lemke. "Participating in GreenLight was truly an experience of a lifetime. My team's tremendous contributions, feedback from my peers and instructors, and the mentoring session with the judges prior to the competition really helped solidify my presentation for the competition."

In addition to Lemke, the AutoMowticCo team includes:

  • Race Bedell, an engineering management technology major from Stevensville
  • Cody Loyer, an entrepreneurship major from West Bloomfield
  • Connor Makowski, a management major from Marcellus
  • Austin Scott, a management major from Spruce
  • Andrew Schram, a management major from White Lake
  • Jamirah Terry, a communication major from Eastpointe

The 2015 GreenLight Business Model Competition was open to businesses that have been in existence for one year or less as new startup ventures. Entrepreneurs from around the state applied to the competition. Eight finalists were invited to a mentoring session before pitching their companies during the final competition.