Ann Arbor SPARK Awarded $10.8 Million From MEDC 21st Century Jobs Fund

MEDC funding will aid SPARK programs designed to help Michigan start-up companies

ANN ARBOR — Ann Arbor SPARK, the region’s driving force in accelerating technology and innovation focused start-ups and early stage companies, was awarded $10.8 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp’s (MEDC) Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund. The funding will support two programs currently administered by Ann Arbor SPARK, the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund and the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. The funding also supports the formation of the Michigan Angel Fund, a new fund that will invest in Michigan start-up companies.

“The funding awarded by the MEDC recognizes Ann Arbor SPARK’s leadership in creating and executing programs that drive economic growth in the state,” said Paul Krukto, Ann Arbor SPARK’s CEO. “Ann Arbor SPARK has a track record of collaborating with our economic development partners throughout Michigan, and these efforts have generated broad impact and business growth. MEDC’s funding awards will extend these programs that are critical to business expansion and the creation and retention of jobs in the state.”

The MEDC awarded Ann Arbor SPARK $9.17 million for the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, a statewide co-investment program that, in collaboration with all Michigan SmartZones, makes investments in pre-seed stage companies. To date, MEDC has provided over $14 million to the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund; since its formation in 2007, the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund has awarded 61 Michigan companies with seed funding totaling more than $13.4 million.

Ann Arbor SPARK was awarded $1.05 million over three years for the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, an annual business competition that it manages on behalf of the Business Accelerate Network of Southeast Michigan. The funding will cover company awards, event logistics such as exhibits, audio/visual and catering, and outreach to new corporate sponsors. The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition awards $1 million in cash prizes to start-up and emerging companies, and highlights Michigan as a venue for innovation and business opportunity.

MEDC awarded $600,000 to Ann Arbor SPARK for the creation of the Michigan Angel Fund, a statewide, $5 million capital fund. Aimed at bridging the gap between research and commercialization of technology, the Michigan Angel Fund will not only award critical funding to emerging businesses, it will offer integrated business acceleration support and services.

MEDC announced today a total of $25 million in 21st Century Jobs Fund awards.

The 21st Century Jobs Fund, a 10-year initiative begun in 2005, is a Michigan Strategic Fund program that is administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to accelerate the growth and diversification of Michigan’s economy. The MEDC, a public-private 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. For more information on the MEDC’s initiatives and programs, visit

Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is the driving force in establishing the Ann Arbor region as a destination for business expansion, retention, and location by identifying and meeting the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK represents all communities in Washtenaw County. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Washtenaw County, Washtenaw County etcs/Michigan Works!, the City of Ann Arbor, Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more information, visit