Monday, January 30, 2012

MTEC SmartZone receives grant to support job creation through local, statewide collaboration

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recently announced an award to MTEC SmartZone for $750,000 as part of a $6 million statewide fund for high-performance business incubators and accelerators in Michigan.

"We continue to see great things happening in Houghton. The credit goes to MTEC SmartZone for putting together a strong proposal that convinced the review committee of their strengths and opportunities," says Paula Sorrell, Managing Director of Entrepreneurial Services at MEDC.

Local entrepreneurs who want to start a businesses or small technology companies wanting to grow, can access the funds through one of the many MTEC SmartZone programs by contacting Program Director, Jonathan Leinonen.

Leinonen says, "MTEC SmartZone provides customized services for our clients, so each company is reviewed and approved based on needs and growth potential."

Grant monies have been diversely allocated through many programs at MTEC SmartZone, with a strong focus on local and statewide collaboration. For example, entrepreneurs receiving assistance from the Entrepreneur Support Center (ESC) will now have additional support and access to local business expertise in areas of legal, accounting and marketing. ESC opened in May 2011 and has already assisted 42 entrepreneurs, creating 18 LLCs and 8 technology companies. This grant will allow ESC to continue assisting company start-ups and growth.

Another great example of how MTEC SmartZone will use the grant money collaboratively is to help commercialize ideas coming out of labs and classrooms at Michigan Technological University.

"This grant is particularly exciting because it recognizes the bond between Michigan Tech and MTEC SmartZone. This opportunity will continue to strengthen that relationship and positively impact our local economy," says David Reed, Vice President for Research at Michigan Tech University.

Growing companies have unique challenges and opportunities through each stage of growth. MTEC SmartZone recognizes that, because of the Keweenaw's remote geography, companies have not had easy access to downstate talent and networking opportunities. A portion of the funding will support MTEC SmartZone's involvement in the Technology Commercialization Assistance (TCA) program. TCA helps identify capabilities within existing companies and matches them with Michigan-based university technology programs, allowing the creation and commercialization of new technologies.

The grant will also allow local technology companies to have access to Ann Arbor-based, strategic business consulting firm Phimation. They assist companies faced with the challenges of growth and those who are stagnated or are transitioning leadership.

"Of course we are thrilled with the generous award. The grant boosts MTEC SmartZone's support and growth strategies, getting us closer to our vision of creating 750 jobs in 10 years," says MTEC SmartZone CEO, Marilyn Clark. "The grant will allow us to grow our network of service providers and gain access to needed expertise through a system of collaboration, professionalism and support."

MTEC SmartZone growth strategies include the following:

1) Providing support and resources to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses

2) Supporting the expansion and growth of technology companies

3) Attraction of Fortune 500 companies to the area

Click here for more information about Michigan Economic Development Corporation grants and call (517) 335-4590.

Click here for more information about the Technology Commercialization Assistance (TCA) program and call Steven B. Wilson, Program Director (734) 998-6221.

For more information about Phimation, visit their Web site or call Dave Haviland (734) 717-4955.

To learn more about MTEC SmartZone, visit their Web site.

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