©2014 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Start Up



  • Starting a company involves a unique set of challenges, and raising money is perhaps the most crucial. Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) works to increase the availability of capital for companies in Michigan at every stage of company development. MEDC can help connect your business with capital providers - federal grants, venture capitalists, banks, and others - as well as offer programs that can expand the reach of those capital providers. Funds for all programs have different eligibility requirements, though all require the company be headquartered in Michigan and that the majority of the employees be based here.

    Funding options include: 

  • Capital Locator Tool

    Capital Locator

    Use the MEDC Capital Locator tool to find and connect with capital providers that are active in Michigan and have interest in your company’s stage and sector.

  • Grant Funding Programs

    MEDC not only helps early stage technology companies access federal grants, there are a few grants for specific purposes (while funds are available).

    Current Grant Programs:

  • Michigan Translational Research Acceleration and Commercialization Fund (M-TRAC) Program

    The Michigan Translational Research Acceleration and Commercialization Fund (M-TRAC) Program uses the nationally recognized Coulter model to translate university research into products through start-ups and licenses with the goal of creating high-tech companies and jobs in Michigan. Instead of a general approach, M-TRAC creates focused commercialization programs in Michigan’s universities with in-depth domain expertise in specific areas of research. Existing M-TRAC programs are currently funded in the following areas:

    • University of Michigan Life Sciences
    • University of Michigan Advanced Transportation 
    • Michigan State University Agro-biotech
    • Michigan Technological University Advanced Applied Materials
  • Michigan Initiative for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (MIIE)

     A collaboration of all 15 Michigan public universities with representatives of the angel/venture capital, industry and economic development communities designed to build on Michigan's universities as economic assets by funding joint projects, entrepreneurship education, and technology commercialization. MIIE goals:

    • Provide gap funding to speed commercialization of research
    • Help universities launch start-up companies
    • Promote an entrepreneurial risk-taking culture
    • Strengthen ties between small business, industry and academia
    Technology Commercialization Fund
    • $150,000 cap 
    • 50% match required
    Talent, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Education Fund
    • $100,000 cap

    Visit the MIIE website for more information.

  • Business Accelerator Fund

    The Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) may be accessed by participating business accelerators statewide to provide specialized business acceleration services and resources regardless of their accelerator client’s geography.

    • No company may receive more than $50K in BAF services.
    • BAF engagements are awarded through a competitive process.
    • Some company matching dollars are required.
    • If you are a company interested in participating, please contact your local SmartZone or business accelerator to determine whether you may be eligible.

    MEDC provides commercialization grant funds to match federal research dollars. Funds are eligible to small tech start-ups and for use in commercialization (not research) purposes only. 

  • Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund (ETF)

    The Michigan ETF matches Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) projects. 

    View the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund Fact Sheet for more information. 

  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Matching Funds

    Matching dollars are provided for defense advanced research projects from the Department of Defense.

    Visit the DARPA website for more information. 

  • Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) Matching Funds

    Matching dollars are available for this specified department of energy research program.

    Visit the ARPA-E website for more information. 

  • Federal funds are limited and available on a first-come basis until exhausted. Classes to better understand the federal programs and improve your submissions are available. (See the links provided above.)

  • Business Plan Competitions

  • Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC)

    The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC) is an international business plan competition designed to highlight Michigan as a robust and vibrant venue for innovation and business opportunity:

    • $1MM in cash prizes, largest business plan competition in the world. 
    • AMIC takes place once a year, and is suited for technology companies who have demonstrated success in their technology and business development.
    • Judges represent private equity investors and firms from around the globe.

    Visit the AMIC website for more information. 

  • Great Lakes Entrepreneur Quest Competition (GLEQ)

    The Great Lakes Entrepreneur Quest Competition (GLEQ) is a state-wide business plan competition that takes place twice a year and offers multiple prizes including a top prize of $100,000. The GLEQ also matches companies with experienced coaches to guide them through the competition and holds more than 20 training and networking events for 400+ technology companies each year.

    • Start-up businesses as well as student teams participate.
    • Outcomes include development of a business plan and an elevator pitch for finalists. 
    • 180 volunteer judges and 300 coaches are needed for a successful competition. If you are interested in either coaching or volunteering, an average of 6 hours of your time is committed.

    Visit the GLEQ website for more information. 

  • Non-MEDC Funded Competitions

    Other competitions in Michigan not funded by MEDC:

  • Equity Funding Programs

    MEDC offers programs to assist companies with equity capital needs. Please visit the links below to find more information on these programs.

    Current Equity Programs:

  • Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund

    The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), through the Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund (PMVM Fund), is soliciting applications from for-profit Michigan-based companies that have received an equity investment commitment from a qualified venture fund for commercialization and growth purposes to provide a match of the investment as follows:

    • Qualified venture led investments from $700,000 to $1,000,000 will be matched by a 50% ($350,000 to $500,000) investment from the PMVM Fund.
    • Qualified venture led investments from $1,000,000.01 to $5,000,000 will be matched by a $500,000 investment from the PMVM Fund. 
    • Applications will be accepted starting April 2, 2012 and must be submitted to PMVMF@michigan.org

    The PMVM Fund Guidelines are designed to provide potential applicants with sufficient information to submit a proposal that meets the MSF’s minimum requirements. The minimum requirements contained in the PMVM Fund Guidelines are not intended to limit the proposal’s content or exclude any information the applicant feels is relevant or essential to their bid. 

  • Michigan Angel Fund

    The Michigan Angel Fund (MAF) provides funding to capital efficient early stage companies located in Michigan. MAF works closely with other stakeholders in the Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem to ensure that we invest in the most promising companies and to ensure the future success of these companies and our investments. MEDC provides administrative support only, but investments and screening is done by private investors.

    Visit the Michigan Angel Fund website for more information. 

  • Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0

    Invest Michigan is the manager of the Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0. As fund manager, Invest Michigan has a contract with the Michigan Strategic Fund to direct and manage a $6.8 million investment fund. The fund works with Michigan entrepreneurs to build high-tech sustainable enterprises by connecting technology startups to resources, providing capital to startups, and actively engaging with entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses. The fund invests in Michigan companies with the following technologies: advanced automotive, manufacturing and materials, agricultural technology, alternative energy, homeland security and defense, information technology, life sciences and other innovative areas.

    The fund offers equity, debt or convertible debt investments, depending on the stage of the company and the co-investors participating in the financing. A minimum of 1:1 in matching funds are required. The three types of investments available are:

    • Micro-Investments of up to $50,000
    • Pre-seed Debt, Convertible Debt or Equity Investments of up to $150,000
    • Follow-on Investments of up $150,000

    Contact your local SmartZone for more information and visit www.michiganpreseedinfo.

    Michigan Pre-Seed Fund Investment Program

    The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund supports high-tech start-up companies as they near commercial viability by providing access to early-stage capital, accelerating company development. As a central fund to the Michigan SmartZone Network, these funds are designed to support this critical stage in the development lifecycle to prepare companies for follow-on private investment.

    • The Pre-Seed fund investment is a convertible note up to $250,000.
    • Eligible companies have less than $1 million in revenues and less than $1 million in third party funding.
    • 100% matching funds from a third party source are required.
    • Eligible companies will need to be past the concept development and analysis phase.

    Contact your local SmartZone for more information. 

  • EB5 Investment and Visa Program

    The EB-5 Investment Program attracts foreign investors seeking legal permanent residency and a chance to invest in the American economy. Investors can be eligible by pledging a minimum of $500,000 to a project within a Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”), through an approved regional center, and independently apply for an EB-5 visa. If approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), foreign investors are granted a conditional two-year green card. After two years, the investor must provide proof that they have created at least ten jobs as a result of the investment and have met additional investment requirements set by USCIS.

    The EB-5 Visa Program is a Federal Government Program

    The EB-5 visa program is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and is therefore governed by federal laws and regulations. It is not a program administered by a state agency, and is therefore not governed by Michigan state law.

    For more detailed information about the EB-5 visa program, its laws and administration please visit:

    State Involvement in the EB-5 Investment and Visa Program

    Although the EB-5 program technically falls under the purview of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the State of Michigan does play a role in the identification and designation of targeted employment areas (TEAs) based upon high unemployment rates. Upon the request of the applicant, the State of Michigan may determine that a specific metropolitan statistical area, a county within a metropolitan statistical area, or a county in which a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more is located, is a targeted employment area (TEA). In order to make such a determination, the county, city or census tract in question must experience an average unemployment rate of 150 percent of the national average.

  • Debt Funding Programs

    MEDC offers programs to assist companies with debt capital needs. Please visit the link(s) below to find more information on current debt program:

  • Michigan Pre-Seed Fund Loan Program

    The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund supports high-tech start-up companies as they near commercial viability by providing access to early-stage capital, accelerating company development. As a central fund to the Michigan SmartZone Network, these funds are designed to support this critical stage in the development lifecycle to prepare companies for follow-on private investment. Companies developing technologies in advanced automotive, manufacturing and materials, alternative energy, homeland security and defense and life sciences, statewide are eligible for these funds through the Michigan SmartZone Network.

    • The Pre-Seed fund loan is up to $50,000.
    • Eligible companies have less than $1 million in revenues and less than $1 million in third party funding. 
    • Eligible companies will need to be past the concept development and analysis phase. 

    Contact your local SmartZone for more information.

  • Energy Loans

    Small businesses looking for support for building energy retrofits, process improvements, retooling/manufacturing and clean energy projects may qualify for an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) loan offered through the Michigan Energy Office. Businesses must have projects that: 

    • Are ready to go no later than 30 calendar days of the loan agreement effective date;
    • Reduce energy consumption by at least 20% (building retrofits);
    • Equipment purchases for general and advanced-manufacturing of commercially available products; and
    • Contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. 

    For more information on these programs, please call the MEDC Customer Contact Center and they will direct you to the appropriate Michigan Energy Office staff.

  • Programs for Sources of Capital

    Michigan is dedicated to supporting the growth of capital providers in the state. Please see the list below which shows current and past programs. Companies seeking financing from any of the capital sources that have participated in these programs can find those capital sources using the capital locator tool.

  • Venture Capital & Private Equity Programs

    MEDC is committed to supporting the growth of venture capital and private equity in the state. Please see the list below which shows current and past programs. 

  • Accelerator Fund Program

    The Accelerator Fund program seeded two new early stage venture capital funds. The Michigan Strategic Fund has committed a total of $12 million to the program.

    Michigan Accelerator Fund I

    Michigan Accelerator Fund I is an investment partnership headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The purpose of this venture capital fund is to achieve significant, long-term capital appreciation for its investors.

    The Fund invests in early stage companies that fall into one of six target sectors: life sciences technology; advanced manufacturing; homeland security; alternative energy technology; information technology; and agriculture. Companies must be based in Michigan. The Fund focuses primarily on seed and early stage venture capital investments in life science technology companies.

    Visit the Michigan Accelerator Fund I website for more information. 

    Huron River Ventures

    Huron River Ventures (HRV) is an investment partnership headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The firm invests in seed-stage, energy technology, Cleanweb, and smart transportation enterprises. HRV is ideally positioned to take advantage of the convergence of two significant trends: Global Energy Technology Growth and Michigan’s Economic Transition. As these trends converge, entrepreneurs and technologists are increasingly seeking early-stage capital and support to commercialize breakthrough technologies. HRV was established to meet this need.

    Visit the Huron River Ventures website for more information. 

  • 21st Century Investment Fund

    The 21st Century Investment Fund is a fund of funds created in 2006, managed by Credit Suisse. It has committed $109 million from the 21st Century Jobs Fund as a limited partner in 12 venture capital, mezzanine, and private equity funds. These funds must invest in Michigan companies, at minimum, an amount equal to the MSF investment in each fund. The Fund seeks to strengthen and diversify Michigan's economy by fostering the creation and growth of new jobs, businesses, and industries within the state. This initiative is focused on four main sectors of the economy, including life sciences, alternative energy, homeland security and defense, and advanced manufacturing.

    Visit the 21st Century Investment Fund website for more information. 

  • Venture Michigan Fund I & II

    The Venture Michigan Fund (VMF) is a $95 million venture capital investment program designed to help Michigan create jobs and bring new industries to the state through the creation of a fund-of-funds that invests in private equity managers that invest primarily in Michigan-based early stage companies. A unique component of VMF is that the capital for the fund is strictly raised by outside investors, with the Michigan Department of Treasury offering to provide investors with up to $200 million of tax voucher certificates to offset any shortfall. VMF seeks to invest in mainly Michigan based companies as well and Michigan focused private equity funds. Credit Suisse Bank manages the fund, and strives to highlight the strong opportunity for private equity investment in Michigan given the state's strong capital and resource base, a vibrant infrastructure of government, industry and academics, and the increasing number of start-up companies that require financing for growth.

    Visit the Venture Michigan website for more information. 

  • InvestMichigan!

    InvestMichigan! represents a groundbreaking partnership of public and private interests in the deployment of private equity capital. InvestMichigan! is a $300 million fund focused on generating strong returns for investors and growing the next generation of Michigan companies. InvestMichigan! has two main components in order to support companies in both early and later stages of development. Under the Growth Capital Program, InvestMichigan! targets lead and co-investment opportunities in venture capital and small buyout stage companies. The Michigan Opportunities Program targets lead investment opportunities in buyouts and growth equity investments in well established companies. InvestMichigan! strives to fundamentally change the way that government and private business work together, and has several goals: to retain and attract businesses to Michigan, nurture portfolio companies at each phase of development, enhance the reputation and further develop Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and attract leading regional and national private equity and venture capital investment funds to Michigan.

    Visit the InvestMichigan! website for more information. 

  • Venture Fellows Program

    This 18-24 month program will allow up to 10 fellows in a three year period to be hired at the venture capital firms in Michigan to create opportunities for emerging leaders who want to stay or move back to Michigan to seek careers in venture capital.

    Visit the Michigan Venture Fellows Program website for more information.