New Economy Initiative Awards $3 Million to Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan


DETROIT, JUNE 21, 2010 – The  New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (, an innovative philanthropic effort to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy, today announces a $3 million grant over three years to support the newly formed Business Accelerator Network of Southeast Michigan, a region-wide collaborative effort dedicated to attracting and retaining business in southeast Michigan.

Comprised of the region’s four key business accelerators– Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, Macomb-OU INCubator, and TechTown, the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan will work collaboratively to share best practices, host events focused on addressing issues and goals that impact southeast Michigan, support business plan development, and leverage funding to grow business in the region.

Collectively, these four business accelerators have invested in 339 start-up companies, invested more than $18 million, created more than 1,000 jobs and secured more than $101.2 million in additional capital for the companies.

“This award supports NEI’s focus on building strong networks that support the development of a more diverse, knowledge driven economy,” said David Egner, executive director of the New Economy Initiative. “An intensified level of collaboration among these outstanding business organizations will create a multiplier effect, reenergizing their existing initiatives and bringing about new and unparalleled cooperative ventures.  It sends a powerful message to business leaders across the nation that southeast Michigan is working in a smart, integrated fashion to grow its business community.”

The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan will support business development in the region through a variety of innovative projects and programs, which will be announced over the coming months.  They will also be identifying opportunities to attract new dollars to support important regional efforts.

“Ann Arbor SPARK actively and successfully practices Open Source Economic Development™ throughout the state,” said Mike Finney executive director of Ann Arbor SPARK. “This exciting funding collaboration between Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan partners is an excellent example of regionalism and will enable us to assist additional start-up companies during the critical commercial acceleration phase of their business growth.”

“Creating the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan allows for the expansion of current interactions among the partners, while opening the door for new business opportunities that will continue to brand Southeast Michigan as a center for technology excellence,” said Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation Alley.

“The Macomb-OU INCubator is very excited to join with the New Economy Initiative, the Kauffman Foundation, Automation Alley, Ann Arbor Spark and Tech Town in this alliance partnership to benefit entrepreneurs and investors in Southeast Michigan,” said Dr. David Spencer, executive director of the Macomb-OU INCubator. “Through this cohesive effort, we hope to significantly improve new business innovation and job growth for the entire southeast Michigan region.

“The ten foundations of the New Economy Initiative are living up to their collective name and showing extraordinary initiative in using its resources to encourage region-wide collaboration. Each business accelerator has developed particular strengths, and by sharing them we will all be stronger. Among the areas where we can help each other is in helping small- to medium-sized companies drive their export business. At the same time, we will work collaboratively to attract mature businesses from overseas that will bring jobs to the region,” said Randal Charlton, executive director of TechTown. “At TechTown, we are developing close collaboration with our NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico, and we also have developing business relations with Israel and other countries in the Middle East and Europe. It’s important to share these relationships for the benefit of the entire region.”

“We applaud the New Economy Initiative’s collaborative efforts to identify, incubate and accelerate Michigan businesses, ideas and entrepreneurs,” said Greg Main Michigan Economic Development Corporation president and CEO.  “Their hard work on behalf of southeast Michigan’s most promising businesses will serve them well.”

About The New Economy Initiative

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (NEI) is an innovative philanthropic effort to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy that expands opportunity for all. Ten national, regional and local foundations have committed $100 million to this unprecedented eight-year initiative, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield, Michigan), the Ford Foundation (New York), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek, Michigan), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami), The Kresge Foundation (Troy, Michigan), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, Michigan), and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit). The participating foundations are leading the implementation and governance of the Initiative. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home. For more information, please visit

About the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations committed to the future of southeast Michigan. The Foundation works to improve the region’s quality of life by connecting those who care with causes that matter. The Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $415 million through more than 35,500 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties. For more information, please visit

About Ann Arbor SPARK

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 startups to large organizations.  Ann Arbor SPARK represents all communities in the 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, Michigan Works!/ETCS, Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, the Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

About Automation Alley

Automation Alley is a technology business association driving the growth and image of Southeast Michigan’s economy through a collaborative culture that focuses on workforce and business development initiatives.

Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley has expanded to include more than 1,000 businesses, educational institutions and government entities from the City of Detroit and the surrounding eight county region. Automation Alley promotes regional prosperity through entrepreneurial and exporting assistance, workforce development and technology acceleration.

For additional information, visit

About the Macomb-OU INCubator

Located in the heart of Macomb County’s defense corridor and the Technology Advancement SmartZoneSM of Sterling Heights, the Macomb-OU INCubator provides business support, shared resources, and capital acquisition assistance to area emerging companies, in an effort to bolster business development and job creation in our region.  This incubation initiative is a partnership between the City of Sterling Heights, Macomb County, Oakland University and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  For more information, visit

About TechTown

TechTown is an urban community of entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and partners creating an internationally influential village in Detroit. TechTown brings the resources of Wayne State University to high-technology startup companies to diversify and strengthen Michigan’s economy in high-growth emerging industries. For more information, visit