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Ann Arbor Spark

March 30, 2009

MEDC Provides More $ for Support Services

The MEDC announced today that four non-profit organizations that support entrepreneurial activities in Michigan will receive $250,000 each for the next two years to keep doing what they do. 

The four organizations are Automation Alley, Biotechnology Business Consultants, Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest and M-Tech.  Watch for the press release tomorrow. 

We are particularly glad to see BBC get funds so they can continue to provide SBIR training.  Their overall training that is provided before major due dates of the major federal funding agencies is free or low cost.  Their more detailed training in how to prepare and write the grants is heavily subsidized by the state and others.  SBIRs provide significant, non-dilutive funds for early stage companies as they prepare for commercialization.  These are not easy grants to win.  Thanks to the BBC the approval rate among Michigan company applicants is growing. 

GLEQ runs the state business plan competition.  More than 111 companies are going through their program right now, getting mentoring and counseling to help them write stronger business plans and prepare them for raising money.  Winners in the two tracks, emerging companies and new business ideas, receive valuable advice during this multi week program and the winners receive  significant award money.  There is nothing like competition to help one sharpen their skills and theirs nothing like a cash prize at the end to bring out the competitors.  We’re delighted to see this program supported for at least two more years. 

Historically the state has done a good job of starting programs and then dumping them after a few years, just as they were beginning to take hold.  Todays action is another example of how the state and MEDC now recognize that you can’t do that.  If good programs are started and are affective, we need to keep watering and fertilizing them so they can keep nurturing others.  Economic development is a team sport and every member of the team needs to be strong and keep delivering results.