Michigan entrepreneurs and university researchers will have a new resource to help nurture their ideas from concept to viable business operations thanks to funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Today the MEDC awarded $2.5 million to six SmartZones to create a statewide network of business accelerators.
Each SmartZone business accelerator will help entrepreneurs and researchers identify technology with commercial potential and, with the assistance of SmartZone resources, will help develop the technology into viable businesses and assist in securing necessary start-up financing.
“There is limitless potential for new products, companies and jobs that can be created as a result of research coming out of Michigan’s universities and SmartZones,” said Doug Rothwell, president & CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “These accelerators will help mold that potential into profitable new Michigan businesses.”
The following SmartZones received funding to create business accelerators (alphabetical order):
· Grand Rapids SmartZone:Supported by Grand Valley State University (GVSU), the Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids Community College, the city of Grand Rapids and The Right Place Program, the zone has been awarded $300,000 for the accelerator. More than $423,000 in local resources have been committed to further the project. This accelerator will be housed at GVSU’s Health Science Building.
· Kalamazoo SmartZone:Supported by Western Michigan University, Southwest Michigan First and the city of Kalamazoo, this zone will receive $550,000 in accelerator funding. More than $2.46 million in local resources have been committed to further the project. The Southwest Michigan First Innovation Center will house the accelerator.
· Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone (Houghton): Supported by Michigan Technological University (MTU), the Keweenaw Industrial Council and the cities of Houghton and Hancock, in cooperation with Oakland University and Oakland County, this zone has been awarded $500,000 for its accelerator. About $600,000 in local resources have been committed to further the project. The accelerator will be located at MTU’s Advanced Technology Development Center.
· Mount Pleasant SmartZone: Supported by Central Michigan University (CMU), CMU Research Corporation, the city of Mount Pleasant and the Middle Michigan Development Corporation, this zone has been awarded $250,000 for its accelerator. About $800,000 in local resources have been committed. The accelerator will be located at CMU’s Center for Applied Research and Technology.
· Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Area SmartZone: Supported by the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, the Ann Arbor IT Zone, the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and the Washtenaw Development Council, this zone has been awarded $500,000 for its accelerator. More than $1.29 million in local resources have been committed to further the project. The Ann Arbor IT Zone will house the accelerator.
· Woodward Technology Corridor SmartZone (Detroit):Supported by Wayne State University, Wayne State University Research and Technology Park, Inc. and the city of Detroit, this zone has been awarded $400,000 in funding for the accelerator.About $1 million in local resources have been committed to further the project.The accelerator will be located at the Wayne State Research and Technology Park.
The six business accelerators are expected to be operational this fall.Types of services offered at the accelerators include technology mining, technology assessments, business feasibility studies, business planning, entrepreneurial training, venture capital preparation and introductions, market analysis, product development, management recruitment and business development mentoring.
The application process began in April with applicants submitting full proposals in June.The minimum local match required for the business accelerators is 100 percent of the MEDC’s investment.
SmartZones applying for the business accelerator program funding were required to have a business incubator ready for use or under construction and be located on or near (within 10 miles) the primary campus of a Michigan institution of higher education.
Since the inception of the SmartZones in April of 2001, 19 companies have located within the zones and six new business incubator facilities are either under construction or operational.To date, SmartZones have spurred more than $100 million in private investment in the state.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.