Michigan’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Receives Continued Support, Resources for High-Tech Startups, University Researchers

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Michigan Strategic Fund awarded more than $7 million to assist entrepreneurs in bringing innovations to market

LANSING, Mich. – In an effort to further grow Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) awarded more than $7 million in funding and extensions to business hubs and innovation programs across the state, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced yesterday.

Funding and extensions approved by the MSF today include: 

  • Technology Transfer Talent Network (T3N) ($500,000)
  • Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization Statewide Program (MTRAC) ($2,450,000)
    • Of that total, MTRAC Advanced Transportation Innovation Hub at the University of Michigan received $500,000 and MTRAC Life Sciences Innovation Hub at the University of Michigan received $1,000,000
  • BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting’s (BBCetc) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programs ($480,000)
  • Michigan Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Business Acceleration Fund (BAF) and Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) ($3,585,000)

“With the success we’ve seen over the past several years, Michigan continues to invest in attracting, retaining and growing talent,” said Fred Molnar, vice president of MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation (E&I) initiative. “Our team is dedicated to making sure researchers, high-tech startups and entrepreneurs in this state have the resources and support they need to take their projects from idea to commercialization here in Michigan. The funds and extensions granted by MSF allow us to continue doing just that.”

Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (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 the key areas of agriculture-biology, advanced computing, advanced transportation, life sciences and advanced materials. The MTRAC program is supported by funds from the MSF and administered by the MEDC, with additional funding coming from partner institutions.

To date, MTRAC programs have received 658 proposals, funded 306 projects, developed 52 startup companies, licensed 34 technologies to industry partners and secured more than $209 million in follow-on funding. At this year’s International Economic Development Council (IEDC) annual conference, MTRAC was a Gold Award recipient, recognizing the program’s commitment and success in strengthening Michigan’s business climate.

Technology Transfer Talent Network (T3N) is a statewide network that drives collaboration across the 15 public universities in Michigan by supporting mentors, postdocs and fellows for early stage university projects. As of September 30, 2019, the T3N program supported 29 professionals who advised over 450 university projects resulting in 223 issued patents, 230 licensing agreements and $21.7M in follow-on-funding.

“Expanding and continuing to fund the MTRAC and T3N programs reinforces our state’s commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship and economic opportunities,” said Denise Graves, university relations director at MEDC. “Through this funding and in partnership with universities across the state, we help provide a pathway to accelerate the creation and transfer of new technologies in the commercial market.”

BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting (BBCetc) manages the Michigan SBIR/STTR Assistance Program, which provides group training and one-on-one proposal development consulting to Michigan’s technology-based entrepreneurs and early stage companies. The program’s goal is to increase Michigan’s share of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) funding by enhancing the competitiveness of proposals.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) enhances Michigan’s economic wellbeing by providing consulting, training and market research for new ventures, existing small businesses and advanced technologies companies. The Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) program makes Michigan more competitive in attracting federal dollars in the form of SBIR and STTR awards. ETF provides matching funds of up to $25,000 for Phase I and $125,000 for Phase II clinical studies. Since 2014, the ETF program has served 112 high tech Michigan companies, created 467 full-time positions and attracted almost $95 million in federal funding.

The Business Acceleration Fund (BAF) provides a series of small grants for high-tech businesses to access certain specialized services they need to grow. These funds are used toward the delivery of specific commercialization services that would not otherwise be available, such as the development of marketing plans or technology validation and product testing. Since 2014, the BAF program has served 464 high-tech Michigan startups, supported the creation of 51 new companies and generated almost 500 full-time positions.

MEDC’s E&I initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more information on MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation, please 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.