Supporting the development of university early stage technologies and talent throughout Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF)— today approved funding extensions for three programs, administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) that have demonstrated positive outcomes in advancing entrepreneurial activity in the state of Michigan.
The approved grant extensions include the following:
- The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Statewide Program, AgBio Innovation Hub
- The University Early Stage Proof-of-Concept Fund – ADVANCE program
- Invest Detroit Hacker Fellows program
“Developing university technologies and supporting the growth of high-tech entrepreneurs and their technologies on the path to the commercial market, from ideation to maturation, is the mission of all of our programs and initiatives,” said Fred Molnar, vice president of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at MEDC. “The three programs extended today each help ignite an entrepreneurial mindset within individuals involved and provide resources to develop talent and technology into business growth for Michigan.”
Focusing on commercializing agbio technologies, including the development of research related to bio-derived/bio-based materials, natural resources and animal health, MTRAC’s AgBio Innovation Hub administered at Michigan State University (MSU) supports projects with a one-to-one match from all recipients. Since moving to the statewide model two years ago, the innovation hub has reported two startups, created two jobs, six licenses and four option-to-license agreements, 24 patents applied, 19 issued patents and over $10 million in follow-on funding. The MSF board granted the program a two-year $1.1 million extension from the MTRAC statewide program fiscal year 2018 budget.
“The recent announcement from dairy-joint venture Spartan Michigan LCC to add 300 jobs to our economy demonstrates the value of agriculture business in our state,” added Molnar. “The support of the MTRAC AgBio Innovation Hub, and other programs advancing technologies in this space, represents our continued investment in leveraging the economic opportunities present in the agriculture industry here in Michigan.”
The University Early Stage Proof-of-Concept Fund—the ADVANCE program—is aimed at early-stage university projects to provide funding, resources and specialized services from university technology transfer offices to aid technologies in the transition from scientific research to translational research into the market. The program supports technologies in performing additional studies or developing a prototype to demonstrate commercial potential in order to receive access to funding from programs such as MTRAC or from angel and venture capital sources in Michigan. The ADVANCE program is administered by MSU and is open to technologies from any of Michigan’s public universities. The grant extended the program for two years with additional funding of $500,000.
The Hacker Fellows program, managed by Invest Detroit Ventures, matches vetted junior software developers with early-stage technology startups through a one-year fellowship. Fellows undergo a five-week software and entrepreneurship bootcamp training before they are placed with a growing Michigan company. The Hacker Fellows program provides startups with access to talented developers to help grow their business, while the developer receives an opportunity to use their skillset to gain valuable work experience and industry knowledge. Since the program’s inception in 2014, the Hacker Fellowship community consists of 67 new companies and 45 hacker fellows connected to the program. The MSF board extended the program for one year with $345,783 in funding.
MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech start-up companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more on MEDC Entrepreneurship & Innovation visit michiganbusiness.org.
For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 98,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.