Early Stage Funding

Early stage funding is critical to the success of startup companies and entrepreneurs. Through a number of programs, MEDC’s Entrepreneurial & Innovation initiative is here to help you find the early stage funding needed.

The Michigan Economic Opportunity Fund

The Michigan Economic Opportunity Fund is a $10 million microbusiness loan program for women, veterans and entrepreneurs of color who don’t qualify for traditional loans through banks or other financial institutions. The fund will provide opportunities for those who are socially and economically disadvantaged due to a lack of access to capital and credit.

Individuals are able to apply for up to $50,000 in loans through this program and can apply by visiting www.miwf.org. Questions about the program can be emailed to [email protected] or by calling 313-962-1920.

The Michigan Economic Opportunity Fund includes a $1.5 million investment from Huntington National Bank, grant support from Ballmer Group of $1.5 million and a $1.5 million million State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) loan participation, in addition to a $1 million grant from MEDC. An additional $2 million from other private funders will be announced later in 2023. For more information, read the press release or visit www.miwf.org.

First Capital Fund

Entrepreneurs should consider the First Capital Fund as their first investment choice as the First Capital Fund provides “genesis” funds (up to $150,000) to new technology companies at the earliest stages of commercialization in the State of Michigan. The fund is milestone-driven and focused on helping companies achieve follow-on funding from Invest Michigan, angel or venture investors within 12 months. For more information, visit the Invest Detroit website.

Pre-Seed Fund III

The Pre-Seed Fund III is administered by the Michigan State University Foundation through Michigan Rise which is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Foundation. Michigan Rise supports entrepreneurs and technology startups across Michigan through capital support, coaching, assistance with grant funding and more. Funding amounts may be awarded for approved applicants through the fund in the range of $100K to $250K. Learn more at MichiganRise.com.

Business Accelerator Fund (BAF)

The Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) is available to participating business accelerators in Michigan’s statewide SmartZone network. These funds are used toward the delivery of highly specialized services to their clients that are not otherwise available from these business accelerators. Participating business accelerators engage third party specialists to help advance the client’s path to commercialization, company success, and economic impact for the state of Michigan. 

  • BAF funds are awarded to accelerators through a competitive review process.
  • A company may not receive more than $50,000 in BAF services, though most engagements are in the $7,000 to $15,000 range.
  • BAF is administered by the SBDC. Companies interested in participating are encouraged to contact the nearest participating business accelerator.

BAF services expanded for early stage tech companies in response to COVID-19 (effective April 6, 2020)

  • Expanded allowable use of funds for high-tech companies in need resulting directly from the public health crisis
  • Expanded size eligibility requirements and allowable use of funds for high-tech companies developing COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, or innovations that support the health care system’s response to the virus
  • Support for certain very small non-tech companies involved in manufacture or distribution of personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies.
  • For additional information, please contact your business accelerator.

Emerging Technologies Fund (ETF) 

The Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund (ETF) is designed to expand funding opportunities for Michigan technology-based companies in the federal innovation research and development arena by providing match dollars (of up to $25,000 for Phase I and up to $125,000 for Phase II) to eligible Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) proposals. Approved ETF applications receive a letter of support to include with their SBIR/STTR proposal. The ETF is administered by the SBDC. For more information and to apply visit the SBDC website.