Michigan Infrastructure Office Announces $10M for Startups and Small Businesses

The Michigan Infrastructure Office has announced it is providing $10 million for the Vision OPEN Challenge to help startups and small businesses apply for federal funding from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ARPA-E Vision OPEN 2024 grant opportunity.
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The Michigan Infrastructure Office is providing $10 million for the Vision OPEN Challenge to help startups and small businesses apply for federal funding from a Department of Energy grant program. // Stock photo

The Michigan Infrastructure Office has announced it is providing $10 million for the Vision OPEN Challenge to help startups and small businesses apply for federal funding from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ARPA-E Vision OPEN 2024 grant opportunity.

The Vision OPEN Challenge will provide matching grants to help small businesses and startups bring advanced clean energy and innovative technologies from the lab to the marketplace.

The ARPA-E Vision OPEN challenges the research and business community to commercialize groundbreaking technologies aligned with three specific goals to enable a future energy landscape that protects the environment.

The goals include greenhouse gas-free energy, intermodal transportation of diverse primary energy sources, and sustainable carbon transition for polymers and other materials.

The DOE is making up to $150 million in federal grants available through the ARPA-E program. Under the Vision OPEN Challenge, the Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund will provide half of the 10 percent match required by the DOE.

Initial applications to the Competitiveness Fund are due by Monday, July 15, to meet the DOE’s concept paper deadline of Tuesday, July 16.

Through the Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund’s Vision OPEN Challenge, the matching grants support the implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan while positioning the state as a hub for clean energy innovation and research.

The investments will also help Michigan continue to grow its clean energy job sector. According to the 2023 Clean Jobs America Report, Michigan added more than 5,400 workers in 2022 and now employs 123,983 Michiganders.

The World Resource Institute shows that by the year, 2040 Michigan could create 41,000 new jobs as it advances electric vehicle manufacturing and builds out renewable energy, like solar and wind.

“By leveraging state funding through the Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund and federal funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we are acting on our promise of creating a brighter, greener future while creating opportunities for Michiganders and businesses to grow,” says Zachary Kolodin, chief infrastructure officer and director of the Michigan Infrastructure Office.

“We will continue to work hard to secure federal investments that directly impact our communities by creating jobs, growing the middle class, protecting our environment, and supporting and encouraging our innovation economy.”

The Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund is a pool of state resources intended to provide enabling funds such as match grants to unlock federally backed investments from the BIL, IRA, and CHIPS and Science Act.

The fund supports investments in infrastructure, mobility and electrification, climate and the environment, economic development, health, and public safety.