Lawrence Technological University in Southfield dedicated the Centrepolis Accelerator, which offers high-tech prototyping and virtual reality equipment. Early clients represent a variety of industries from transportation to gaming and exercise equipment to defense.
The accelerator’s mission is to accelerate the growth of small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs by offering access to funding, experts, and business and product development resources.
Michigan has long been a manufacturing hub, but nearly all business incubators in the state focus on apps, software, and services. The Centrepolis Accelerator has a full prototyping shop for products, machine tools, and 3-D printers.
A grand opening and dedication took place on Oct. 4, which was National Manufacturing Day. Its resources and equipment were demonstrated for more than 500 attendees. There were also product demonstrations from accelerator clients including Wareologie, which makes magnetic buttons for people with dexterity limitations; Gaddis Gaming, a creator of electronic gaming tables for tabletop games; Maxfit, developers of a portable workout device; and Pingree Detroit, which makes leather goods.
Access to the accelerator and its equipment starts at $125 per month with a 12-month commitment. Partners in the Centrepolis Accelerator effort include the city of Southfield, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Michigan Energy Fund, and the New Economy Initiative.
“The days of dark, dirty buildings, the days of not getting respect for working with your hands, those days are over, and we need to make sure we need to highlight all the amazing opportunities in manufacturing,” says U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield). “There is so much technology tied to manufacturing now.”
LTU is a private university founded in 1932 and offers more than 100 programs through the doctorate level in architecture and design, arts and sciences, business and information technology, and engineering.