Invest Detroit wins $2M from state fund to support startups

Invest Detroit was the big winner Tuesday at the meeting of the Michigan Strategic Fund. The nonprofit, which is affiliated with Business Leaders for Michigan, was approved for two awards, totaling almost $2 million.

There were nine awards, totaling $6.65 million for an Entrepreneurial Services Program approved by the MSF in April. After the approval of the program, the MSF sought applications from nonprofits and universities who wanted to provide support services to help entrepreneurs launch and grow high-tech companies.

In all, 20 proposals were received.

Invest Detroit received the largest award, being approved for $1.35 million to administer the Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition, which awards a first-place prize of $500,000 to an emerging company each November.

Previously, the competition was administered by Ann Arbor Spark, an economic development organization.

The award will also cover the cost of the third annual Institutional Investor Forum hosted by Crain’s Detroit Business in November. The event is held in conjunction with Accelerate Michigan.

Invest Detroit also was awarded $605,300 to administer the Michigan Hacker Fellowship, a program that will be a partnership with Detroit-based Grand Circus Detroit LLC, a company that provides technology training, to place computer science graduates from state universities into start-up companies in the state.

Other awards:

• $960,000 to Ann Arbor-based BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting to continue its work helping area companies get federal grants.
• $500,000 to Ann Arbor Spark to create the Michigan Angel Fund II.
• $800,000 to Detroit-based NextEnergy to extend for two years the Michigan Accelerating Technologies Energy Grant program.
• $367,281 to Detroit-based Inforum Center for Leadership to fund for two more years its inGAGE training program to accelerate the success of women-led ventures.
• $582,376 for the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship to continue its entrepreneurship training activities for two years.
• $987,850 for the Ann Arbor-based Michigan Venture Capital Association to support its Venture Upstart III program for two more years.
• $500,000 over two years for the GreenLight Business Model Competition, a pitch contest for green companies put on by Spartan Innovations of the Michigan State University Foundation.


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