Michigan Strategic Fund approvals boost high-tech research, entrepreneur assistance and more


LANSING— The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of a number of significant items, including the designation of the first Center of Innovation in Michigan, renewal of the State Trade and Export Program, Entrepreneurial Service Provider Request for Proposals awards, a Michigan Business Development Program incentive, a General Motors MEGA amendment and a brownfield work plan approval.

“The Michigan Strategic Fund approved a wide range of projects today, from Michigan’s first Center of Innovation to export assistance for Michigan companies to a business expansion in Holland, that will promote greater economic opportunities for our businesses and citizens,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “Today’s actions demonstrate how we have greatly improved Michigan’s business climate and infrastructure, leading to more jobs and better lives for our residents.”

On Aug. 22 the MSF approved an allocation of $5.25 million for the Entrepreneurial Services Program and issued a Request for Proposals, which sought applications from nonprofit organizations and universities in Michigan to provide specialized support services to assist entrepreneurs in launching and growing high-tech companies throughout the state. The MSF today approved nine awards of the 24 proposals that were received:

  • First Customer Program ($1,500,000) – Awards were made to Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation, Mid-Michigan Innovation Center, and Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy to provide services and programs to assist new technology companies to identify, introduce, and close deals with “first” customers. Assistance includes sales training, mentoring and coaching to prepare young companies on approaching first customers to help them move to financial stability. Companies assisted through this process will receive services rather than funds.
  • Industry Consortium Programs ($500,000) – Two newly forming organizations in the photonics and medical device industries, Mi-Light (photonics) and the Michigan Medical Device Accelerator, provided matching funds to receive a grant focused on building industries and connecting partners in the state. In addition, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center received funds to map and locate manufacturers interested in providing short runs, early runs, and prototypes for early stage technology companies. 
  • Federal Grant Matching Funds ($3,250,000) – Three programs – Grand Valley State University-Small Business Technology and Development Center (SBTDC), Macomb OU Inc. and NextEnergy Center – were funded to provide commercialization matching funds to companies receiving technology research federal grants. They also will promote the programs to encourage more early stage tech companies to take advantage of federal funding opportunities, including funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/ Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the Department of Defense; and the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-e), an agency of the Department of Energy.

For more on MEDC and its initiatives, visit: MichiganAdvantage.org.