Students at Northwood University take this contest seriously.

After all, they’re fledgling entrepreneurs in the school’s unique automotive marketing and management program and the prize is more than a tin-cup trophy, shiny blue ribbon or $50 gift card good at the college book store.

Rather, it’s $25,000 split among the 3-person team that wins the F&I Innovator of the Year contest. Here's an inside look at the collegiate competition.