It all starts with an idea. Share your business idea with us to apply to join the SPARK innovation center family.
Ann Arbor SPARK’s Centers of Innovation are dedicated to helping tech entrepreneurs thrive. In addition to providing an incubator space for early-stage and pre-seed startups, SPARK’s award-winning acceleration program offers grants, mentorship, skills training, and access to a network of business leaders and experienced entrepreneurs. The startup acceleration program’s goal is to help early-stage companies quickly reach key milestones that often lead to angel funding and interest from venture capitalists.
The SPARK Acceleration Program
Connect with SPARK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and discover a community genuinely invested in your success. You’ll find a relaxed yet professional atmosphere with reservable conference rooms and a variety of desk and office space options. Surrounded by like minds, you’ll be able to establish camaraderie with other tech company founders in fields such as mobility, health and life sciences, fintech, social entrepreneurship, and more.
Business Acceleration Grants
The founders of bootstrapped startups often have to make decisions based on limited financial resources versus what is best to grow the company. SPARK business acceleration grants bridge that resource gap. By providing growth-driven funds, entrepreneurs can achieve specific milestones that will help advance a startup’s path to commercialization and profitability. Eligible companies can request funding to pay for legal, marketing, and professional services such as intellectual property concerns, marketing strategy development, and project consulting.
From advisor to confidant, there’s a lot of value in finding an inspiring and reliable mentor. Entrepreneurs often give credit to a collaborative mentor-mentee relationship for helping them achieve success. Ann Arbor SPARK maintains a well-vetted list of business leaders and seasoned entrepreneurs who can help founders develop their own leadership skills and prepare for investor meetings. SPARK will help you create a designed alliance with your mentor — one that is carefully recommended based on the mentor’s and mentee’s strengths, plus the needs and goals of the mentoring period.
You’re a first-time entrepreneur with a great idea. Now what? Ann Arbor SPARK’s acceleration program offers workshops to help you grow from the idea stage to a minimum viable product. Entrepreneur Boot Camp is a great place to start. This mentorship-driven program for early-stage, technology-driven companies accelerates the timeline for entrepreneurs who need to quickly determine if they have a viable business opportunity and then focus on crucial next steps. Additionally, SPARK offers workshops and webinars on soft skills development, marketing strategy, team building, legal concerns, investor relations, and more.
The business acceleration program is made possible through funds earmarked by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and budget oversight provided by the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA).