Michigan Strategic Fund Approves Funding to Further Grow Michigan’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Friday, March 1, 2019

• Wayne State Advanced Computing Innovation Hub wins MSF approval • $850,000 awarded to business incubators across Michigan that provide services to early-stage tech companies

LANSING, Mich. – February 27, 2019—In an effort to continue to support economic growth and stimulation of Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) awarded $850,000 in funding to innovation and business hubs across the state, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced today.

This funding included the approval of Wayne State University’s application for the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Advanced Computing Innovation Hub. The MSF also supported funding for five organizations that provide business incubator services to early stage technology companies and institutions.

“The introduction of the Advanced Computing Innovation Hub at Wayne State University further demonstrates Michigan’s commitment to high-tech startups,” said Fred Molnar, vice president of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, the division of MEDC that administers entrepreneurship programs on behalf of the MSF. “Across the state, MEDC is helping to support technology-based businesses in key areas of life sciences, ag bio, advanced transportation, advanced materials and advanced computing. Efforts in each area provide perfect examples as to how Michigan universities and startups are at the forefront of innovation across the nation.”

Wayne State University received MSF approval as an Advanced Computing Hub with the MTRAC statewide program. MSF also approved an allocation of $250,000 from the 21st Century Jobs Fund 2019 MTRAC program budget as funding for one year for this innovation hub.

MTRAC supports the acceleration of technology transfer from Michigan’s institutions of higher education, non-profit research centers and hospital systems for commercialization of competitive edge technologies in five key areas. For the last three years, WSU had managed a bio-medical MTRAC program—attracting over $5.7 million in follow on funding and funding 13 projects. With the hosting of the MTRAC Advanced Computing Innovation Hub on its campus, the university will continue to serve as a key collaborator and resource for researchers across Michigan.

“Through our university programs, we are able to identify and support researchers who have immense potential in disrupting advanced technology markets and the commercialization of technology transfer,” said Denise Graves, university relations director at MEDC. “With Wayne State University’s MTRAC Advanced Computing Hub, Michigan is continuing support for researchers and high-tech companies to start and thrive here.”

In addition to supporting the launch of the latest MTRAC Innovation Hub, MSF awarded a total of $600,000 to five business incubators across the state. Michigan Business Incubator services stimulate the creation and growing base of technology-based startups through capitalizing on Michigan’s skilled labor force and nationally recognized universities, as well as through support of the MEDC’s SmartZones. Since its inaugural year in 2015, this business incubator program has helped form over 380 new companies and create over 1,800 jobs while generating $314 million in revenue.

The five organizations to receive awards are:

  • Ann Arbor SPARK ($150,000)
  • The Enterprise Group of Jackson, Incorporated ($150,000)
  • Automation Alley ($100,000)
  • TechTown Detroit ($100,000)
  • The City of Grand Rapids SmartZone ($100,000)

“SmartZones serve as a critical resource to startups from Houghton to Detroit, providing entrepreneurs with access to professional development, mentors and investors,” said Molnar. “They are essential to keeping and attracting talent to Michigan and are thus a key driving force for the state’s continued economic growth.”

MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more on MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation visit www.michiganbusiness.org/entrepreneurship.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.