Michigan universities receive business development grants



(The Center Square) – Business startups across Michigan universities got a boost recently with the announcement of a $5 million grant to start new campaigns.

Funded by the Michigan Strategic Fund and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Michigan University Innovation Capital Fund wants to take student portfolios and raise them to a professional level. The program will also serve as a technology sharing platform between campuses.

“Michigan has always been a state of dreamers, innovators, and doers,” Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II said. “The MUICF will unleash Michigan innovation and imagination within our university ecosystem and support startups across the state as they grow our economy and create good-paying, high-tech jobs.”

The MUICF will be led by Michael Psarouthakis, the current executive director for impact investments and strategic alliances within innovation partnerships.

“Through initiatives like the Michigan Innovate Capital Fund, this award to Innovation Partnerships will help increase the amount of capital being invested in Michigan-based competitive edge technology companies,” said Amy Rencher, senior vice president of small business services at the MEDC. “This collaborative program in particular will support the research and innovative ideas born out of Michigan’s thriving university ecosystem, while also diversifying and growing the state’s economy.”

Based out of the University of Michigan’s Innovation Partnerships program, the MUICF will extend to Michigan State University, Michigan State University Research Foundation, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University and Michigan Technological University.

“Collaboration is essential if we want to accelerate innovation, and so I am incredibly excited to see how the Michigan University Innovation Capital Fund and Consortium will create synergies between academia, venture capital and industry, facilitating the flow of ideas, expertise and resources to help build a brighter future for our great state,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and innovation at U-M.

For the past six years, public Michigan university campuses have developed on average 26 different technological business startups per year. The implementation of the MUICF will help these programs go further through additional funding and resources they did not previously have.

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