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State Boosts Start-Ups With $25 Million

LANSING (WWJ) -- The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced Wednesday that the Michigan Strategic Fund is awarding $25 million to eight organizations that will support entrepreneurs in launching and growing companies throughout the state.

The money comes from the state's 21st Century Jobs fund, which uses Michigan's share of the national tobacco settlement to help early-stage Michigan companies in the alternative energy, life sciences, homeland security, defense, advanced manufacturing and materials, agricultural processing, information technology, and other innovative sectors.

"Early-stage companies require seed capital and access to a strong network of public and private resources," said MEDC president and CEO Michael A. Finney. "We are confident that with the funding of these organizations and the types of programs -- from federal grant support to business plan completion to providing services and angel and pre-seed funding -- we will continue to accelerate the growth of innovative technology start-ups in Michigan."

Organizations that received awards from the MSF include the following (funding is for two to three years):

* Ann Arbor Spark, $10.8 million. The money will help fund the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, a statewide co-investment program in collaboration with all Michigan SmartZones that makes investments in pre-seed stage companies; the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, an annual business competition that awards $1 million in cash prizes to start-up and emerging companies; and the Michigan Angel Fund, a new fund that will invest in Michigan start-up companies.
* The Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, $3.8 million. The money will help fund a statewide pre-seed fund that will invest in life science start-ups.
* Biotechnology Business Consultants LLC, Ann Arbor, $1.6 million. The money will provide support and education statewide to train Michigan companies how to secure funding through the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.
* The Detroit Creative Corridor Center, $400,000. The money will help fund Creative Producers, a program that will deliver targeted business acceleration services to early and second stage businesses in the digital and media production fields.
* The Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest Lansing, $1.1 million. The money will help fund GLEQ's statewide annual business plan competition that provides a network of volunteer coaching, investor talent, and entrepreneurial support programs for early stage companies.
* The Inforum Center for Leadership, Detroit and Grand Rapids, $700,000. The money will help implement two programs focused on high-growth women entrepreneurs: ACTiVATE, a technology commercialization curriculum, and Astia, a global network of mentors and investors.
* The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center, Grand Rapids, $3.5 million. The money will be used for the Business Accelerator Fund, a fund that can be accessed by participating business accelerators statewide to provide specialized business acceleration services and resources regardless of their client's geography.
* The Michigan Venture Capital Association, Ann Arbor, $3.1 million. The money will help fund  Entrepreneur-in-Residence and CEO placement programs, to improve talent in entrepreneurial companies; the Michigan Venture Fellows program, to develop talent for Michigan venture capital firms; and the Angel Network Growth program, to strengthen angel investment networks across the state.

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