SOUTHFIELD, Mich (FOX 2) - The Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University has received a $3,426,316 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. as part of its Small Business Hub program.
"Michigan is committed to bolstering our entrepreneurial ecosystem by supporting the small businesses that drive our economy, as well as trusted partners like Centrepolis that serve small businesses and partners statewide," MEDC Senior Vice President of Small Business Services Amy Rencher said. "By leveraging federal dollars, designating Centrepolis as a Small Business Support Hub will help us expand and improve resources across the region while raising the national profile of the strength of our entrepreneurial community."
Added Dan Radomski, Centrepolis CEO: "We’re grateful to the MEDC for this strong support, and we will put these funds to good use helping Michigan entrepreneurs and existing small businesses create more advanced physical products--and good-paying jobs."
The Centrepolis grant is one of 27 Small Business Hub entrepreneurship support grants made by the MEDC totaling $73 million. The entrepreneurship support organization Ann Arbor Spark is providing overall administration of the grants, which were funded under the American Rescue Plan.
The Centrepolis Accelerator supports inventors, start-ups and established small businesses that have ideas for physical products with product development resources, including design, engineering, prototyping, testing and manufacturing readiness services. The Accelerator dedicates over 50% of its funding and services to underserved entrepreneurs, including startups and established small businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans, and people with disabilities as well as companies located in rural and distressed communities. It has more than 40 manufacturing experts-in-residence that provide one-on-one support for product design, value engineering, design for manufacturability assessments, prototyping, testing, material selection, tool design, manufacturing process selection, supplier connections, and access to capital.
The Accelerator was established by LTU and the city of Southfield in 2018 and had its formal opening in 2019. Over just the past two years, it has worked to commercialize more than 200 new products, resulting in the creation of 14 new companies, more than 600 new jobs, and more than 220 patents issued, with capital raised by its clients of more than $570 million. Its clients have also issued more than 450 contracts to Michigan suppliers with a value of more than $140 million.
Radomski said the accelerator is experiencing a record level of requests for assistance from startups and existing small manufacturers, and will use the grant to expand its staffing and service capacity, with an emphasis on underserved rural and distressed communities. It is also planning to launch a Defense Hardtech Accelerator with the U.S. Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center in Warren.