Michigan Named Powerhouse for Mobility Startups

Garrett Anderson

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The MEDC adds more international recognition to its resume for its support of innovative mobility startups.

The AutoMobili-D floor at the Detroit Auto Show highlights mobility startups.


The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has helped Michigan build on its automotive roots to become a hotbed for high-tech mobility startups, and the MEDC’s efforts are once again being recognized for nurturing entrepreneurs, supporting new intellectual property and ushering in the next generation of transportation talent.

The Startup Ecosystem Stars Awards honor government-related organizations that support innovation in their region. The MEDC earned honors in the Top Talent & Research category among 12 other entities thanks to its holistic ecosystem development in aligning Michigan's workforce with the demands of the state’s evolving mobility industry. Additionally, Michigan's Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) was named among 40 select organizations in the Stars Community.

"The MEDC accepts these Startup Ecosystem Stars Awards with profound appreciation, recognizing that these honors are on behalf of the entire Michigan entrepreneurial community – all united in our commitment to cultivating a thriving ecosystem where risk-taking dreamers can create businesses that employ and inspire friends and neighbors,” said MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. “From building a world-class talent pool to forging connections across mobility, we’re enabling a future where entrepreneurs can and will Make It in Michigan."



Michigan Delivers Resources Essential to Mobility Startups

The OFME and MEDC’s talent programs work across Michigan’s government, universities and private industry to support the startup and scaling of emerging technologies and businesses, receiving accolades along the way. OFME has recently received other nominations for its leadership in innovative transportation projects in Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards and as a pioneer for innovation and leadership in the automotive industry in the Reuters Events Automotive D.R.I.V.E Honours.

“We’re proud to be recognized for the work we and our partners are doing across Michigan to foster connections, funding and talent to advance mobility. Our industry is all about shaping the future, and nowhere is that more evident than our thriving and collaborative community of innovators,” said Justine Johnson, Michigan’s Chief Mobility Officer and head of the OFME. “When we empower our next generation of mobility entrepreneurs, it’s more than just moving people and goods. We’re moving all of Michigan forward.”

To support this journey into the future of mobility, Michigan offers comprehensive assistance for entrepreneurs, including funding, support hubs and talent pools. This backing ensures a thriving ecosystem for innovative ideas to flourish. In recent years, Michigan has ranked as the fastest growing state for venture capital investments, and Detroit, known around the world for its place in auto history, was named the best emerging startup ecosystem.


Funding for the Future of Mobility

Along with the state’s lengthy list of all-around entrepreneurial funding, OFME has also helped launch mobility-specific programs. This list includes the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform, which helps companies scale mobility solutions that increase EV adoption and modernize transportation. Recipients include Bedestrian, which will use autonomous robots to move chemotherapy medications from labs to cancer center clinics, and Cron AI, which will showcase how safe vehicle autonomy is possible through smart vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.

There’s also the Mobility Public-Private Partnership & Programming Grant, which helps fund mobility work in Michigan’s great outdoors. Companies such as Snowbotix will use the funds to develop all-electric, all-terrain robots that perform potentially dangerous outdoor jobs normally done with gas-powered tools, such as snow removal and trail maintenance.


Michigan Makes Mobility Startups Part of the Big Picture

These funding programs are part of Michigan’s larger network of entrepreneurial support, which includes organizations throughout the state to help entrepreneurs, technology-based firms and researchers find supportive communities, mentoring, networking events, product development, accessing capital, business planning, market analysis and more.

Michigan also offers a range of opportunities to work with global leaders in tech mobility. One such program is Michigan Central, a partnership between the state and OFME, Detroit and founding partners Ford Motor Company and Google to help startups bring innovations to market.

Entrepreneurs can also look to the Detroit Auto Show, one of the industry’s largest mobility showcases. The annual event highlights partnerships between Michigan’s leading corporations and up-and-coming tech companies and university programs, while offering networking opportunities with business prospects from around the world.

The state also has a number of connected and autonomous vehicle research and testing facilities to help research, test and develop mobility solutions in real-world environments. Entrepreneurs can join government, industry and university partners at testing centers and tracks, including the American Center for Mobility, Mcity R&D center at the University of Michigan and the Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium.



Talent is Waiting to Help Build the Next Generation

Alongside OFME, the MEDC is also leading the charge to attract and develop a world-class talent pool. The EV/Mobility and Semiconductor Talent Action Teams are a core part of Michigan’s efforts to maintain a world-class workforce.

In exchange for a one-year commitment to Michigan companies, students can get scholarships and real-world mobility experience so they enter the workforce ready to contribute to the innovation happening every day in Michigan. Meanwhile, jobseekers can get tailor-made career paths complete with skills training and certifications to adapt to the evolving industry.

These efforts are part of the nation’s largest-ever campaign to promote careers and recruit talent for the mobility sector, and it’s paying off. The campaign has inspired more than 300 students to pursue careers in mobility and filled more than 500 jobs with Michigan mobility companies.

To learn more about Michigan’s support for mobility startups, visit Mobility and Automotive Manufacturing.


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