LANSING, Mich. – Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today to announce the Venture Fellows Program, a collaboration between MEDC and the Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA). Lt. Governor Gilchrist led the push for Michigan Strategic Fund funding for the Venture Fellows Program which will accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early-stage companies. The program will be administered by the MVCA which works to increase the capital and talent available to venture investors so they can support Michigan’s most innovative entrepreneurs.
“Michigan workers are the most innovative and talented in the world, and we can lead the future if we support them with the resources they need to thrive,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “We can make Michigan the best place for dreamers and doers to realize a groundbreaking idea or pursue an exciting new venture. This crucial support for the Venture Fellows Program will help transform breakthrough ideas into new companies and industries that attract and retain talent and grow our economy. Governor Whitmer and I look forward to seeing this program’s impact and building on this progress to drive Michigan toward a bright future.”
The MVCA will create a broad network of talent to grow Michigan startups and support Michigan’s venture capital ecosystem. The Michigan Strategic Fund is supporting the Venture Fellows Program with $500,000 in matching funds that will be used to increase the number of venture professionals in Michigan, helping to accelerate fundraising for early-stage companies.
“Talent is essential and a priority for Michigan and the relaunch of the Venture Fellows program will help assist Michigan investor funds to add more staff capacity in order to expand their efforts,” said MVCA Executive Director Ara Topouzian. “This program is meant to ignite a new generation of investors that will hopefully create their own funds and support Michigan’s entrepreneurial community.”
To promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive venture capital talent pool in Michigan, Lt. Governor Gilchrist brought together stakeholders to ensure the Venture Fellows Program prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and practices. The Program will help Michigan venture capital firms hire the next generation of venture fellows with diverse experiences and backgrounds.
“As the MEDC strives to make the state’s economy the fastest-growing, most equitable, and most resilient in the nation, developing the talent for Michigan’s tomorrow is a foundational piece of the puzzle,” said MEDC Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Solutions & Engagement Officer Kerry Ebersole Singh. “By supporting the Venture Fellows Program, we can increase the number of venture professionals in Michigan, help accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early-stage companies, and build a more diverse and equitable economy in the state.”
The 2023 Venture Fellows Program will require candidates to have a track record of actively contributing to a diverse and inclusive community, a commitment to diversity initiatives, and diversity and inclusion training through MVCAcademy, a required one-day training for venture fellows.
Venture firms that participate will be required to:
- Be headquartered in Michigan or with a Michigan office.
- Be structured in a manner that has general partners receiving a percentage of the total investment capital each year (carry).
- Be dedicated to building the entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan.
- If Assets Under Management (“AUM”) are greater than $100 million, match at least 60 percent; if AUM is less than $100 million, match at least 40 percent of the venture fellow’s annual salary.
- Priority given to firms that do not already have an existing fellow.
Venture fellows who participate will be required to:
- Demonstrate significant ties to Michigan.
- Be interested in making a meaningful contribution to the Michigan entrepreneurial and investment community.
- Actively contribute to promoting the entrepreneurial and investment community.
Learn more about the Venture Fellows program here.
Today’s news comes on the heels of Michigan announcing its comprehensive approach to marketing the state as a home of opportunity for all through a holistic campaign effort, including a talent attraction and retention effort.
In February 2023, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved $3.5 million in funding for the new EV Scholars Pilot Program, intended to retain top talent in the electric vehicle and mobility industry in the state. The EV Scholars program will provide scholarships of up to $10,000 for students graduating from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, or Michigan Technological University who accept a job offer for full-time employment as an electrical engineer or software developer with a participating EV Scholar Core employer.
The program will also award $5,000 scholarships to junior or third-year students at one of the three participating universities who accept an internship as an electrical engineer or software developer with one of the participating employers in the EV Scholars Pilot Program.
Additional universities and companies may be added to the program in the future. The program is intended to help create new, rapid pathways to critical jobs in the EV and mobility sectors. It will also provide an incentive to students who may otherwise not have explored careers in the EV industry in Michigan.
Learn more about the EV Talent Action Team here.
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.
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