Michigan Security Network and WSU Launch Joint Venture to Spur Entrepreneurship


DETROIT, October 6, 2009 – In support of its mission to accelerate homeland security technology development, investment and jobs in Michigan, the Michigan Security Network has developed a joint venture with Wayne State University to provide training for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as mature businesses interested in this growing market.

The training will be offered through WSU’s TechTown in the form of two FastTrac™ programs designed with homeland security content provided by Michigan Security Network. FastTrac is a practical, hands-on business development program designed to help entrepreneurs hone their skills needed to create, manage and grow a successful business. FastTrac is a globally renowned program created by the Kansas City-based Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation, a TechTown partner organization and America’s leading expert on entrepreneurship education, research and growth.

“Homeland security is one of the fastest-growing market segments for new technology and a significant expansion opportunity for Michigan businesses,” said Leslie Touma, CEO and founder of Michigan Security Network. “Through the FastTrac program, Michigan Security Network will share our knowledge of the homeland security market, such as what kind of technology gaps currently exist and where the investment opportunities are for companies of all sizes.”

The two FastTrac programs on homeland security will include:

  • FastTrac NewVenture® helps aspiring entrepreneurs define and evaluate business concepts, providing a blueprint for identifying the next steps toward entrepreneurial success.
  • FastTrac Planning® is geared toward the business owner, focusing on taking companies to new levels of  growth and expanding business operations.

“TechTown already has an established, successful process in place for business incubation,” said Judy Johncox, WSU director, Commercialization Services. “A focused effort on homeland security will create a platform for a new area of technology opportunity that we haven’t explored before.”

To participate in the homeland security FastTrac training, interested companies are first asked to attend the MiSN Homeland Security Market Leadership Conference taking place on November 4 at the Dearborn Hyatt. The conference will be the first opportunity to not only hear from homeland security experts on technology and sub-contractor needs in this market segment but also meet decision makers in the industry.

Conference attendees can begin the registration process that will be used to select qualified participants for the homeland security FastTrac programs. The training, currently being scheduled for early 2010, will focus on cyber security, bio defense and border security – the three target areas of the Michigan Security Network.

More than 70 percent of companies that Michigan Security Network will work with fall into cyber security, bio defense or border security. These have been identified as major areas of opportunity for Michigan-based businesses according to an in-depth market analysis commissioned by the organization.

Funding for FastTrac is made possible through a $9.24 million alliance between the New Economy Initiative for southeastern Michigan, one of the nation’s most expansive philanthropy partnerships, and the Kauffman Foundation.

To register for the MiSN Homeland Security Market Leadership Conference, please visit  www.michigansecuritynetwork.com.

About the Michigan Security Network

Founded as a nonprofit organization in 2008 by 16 leading Michigan-based companies, universities and other groups, Michigan Security Network offers entrepreneurs and established companies sector-specific consulting services, marketing expertise, networking and business acceleration, as well as access to a comprehensive database of homeland security-related funding sources, federal, state and local programs, in-state research and development projects, product development, manufacturing capabilities and more.

About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities in an urban setting, ranking in the top 50 in R & D expenditures of all public universities by the National Science Foundation. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information on research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.

About TechTown

TechTown is an urban community of entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and corporate partners creating an internationally influential village in Detroit. TechTown brings the resources of Wayne State University to high-technology start-up companies to assist in diversifying and strengthening Michigan’s economy in high-growth emerging industries. For more information, visit www.techtownwsu.org.

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people’s eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. It also works to prepare students to be innovators, entrepreneurs and skilled workers in the 21st-century economy through initiatives designed to improve learning in math, engineering, science and technology. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the foundation is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and has an asset base of approximately $2 billion. Find more information at http://www.kauffman.org.

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