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Ann Arbor Spark

March 11, 2019

Supporting Startups in the Ann Arbor Region

The Ann Arbor SPARK entrepreneurial services program is a valuable resource for promising entrepreneurs looking to grow their company in the Ann Arbor region. Whether you’re a new business looking for an official address or the next promising tech startup, SPARK can help you grow.

Incubator Network

Ann Arbor SPARK has two innovation centers in Washtenaw County available to companies looking for either a physical workspace or a virtual tenancy. This service helps give your growing business access to resources, like printers and meeting spaces (not to mention free coffee). Additionally, a business address will protect your privacy and provide your new startup a professional image it needs to thrive.

Reception area at SPARK Central Innovation Center

One location is in central Ann Arbor and provides a great space for launching, developing, and growing your business. The other location is in downtown Ypsilanti, which for more than 10 years has attracted innovative businesses of every size and description. Once you become a SPARK client, you can access mentoring, networking, and education workshops at either location.

We also host a variety of social events aimed at connecting early-stage companies with experienced resources and expanding personal networks. Check out our events calendar.

Programs

We want to provide every business who works with us the tools to succeed, so we offer a host of incredible programs for aspiring entrepreneurs. Our Starting Your Own Business workshop[BM1]  offers a look at the introductory skills needed to run a successful business. Qualified early-stage tech companies will also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with seasoned entrepreneurs, investors, and executives during our Entrepreneur Boot Camp. Finally, in an effort to both retain and attract experienced technology company leadership, SPARK offers a six-month Executive-in-Residence (EIR) program. EIR pairs C-level professionals who have a proven record of success in early-stage companies with SPARK clients as they overcome specific challenges.

Support

Ann Arbor SPARK knows that securing funding is absolutely crucial for new startups. We coach the executive teams of early- and growth-stage companies to focus on the business metrics and milestones that will best position their companies for funding.

Additionally, SPARK can help you find the best talent for open positions, or possibly contribute to the cost of your summer internship program. When you’re ready to hire, be sure to submit the position to the Ann Arbor SPARK job portal (powered by TrueJob, a local startup and SPARK client).

Speaking of internship programs, Ann Arbor SPARK partners with the Eastern Michigan University Digital Engagement Center to offer the Digital Marketing Clinic summer internship program. Companies accepted into the program are matched with EMU students who work on specific projects over an eight-week period. The popularity of the program continues to grow with 135 student applications received in 2018.

Getting Started

The first step to working with SPARK Entrepreneurial Services in any capacity is to share your idea with us. We will maintain confidentiality (your idea is safe with us). The form helps us identify the best way SPARK can assist your startup.

All of this is made possible with the financial support of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA). SPARK serves as a distributor of LDFA funding and provides its entrepreneurs with the opportunity to receive business accelerator grants through SPARK.

Read more about our services here.

Contact a member of the entrepreneurial services team today.

Contributed by Jacob Quinn, a sophomore in the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering studying Electrical Engineering. He’s heavily involved with entrepreneurship programs on campus through his membership in the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program and is incredibly passionate about sustainability in innovation.