4 August

Chevrolet Provides 12 Volts To MBAs Across America Program

Last year, MBAs Across America launched when first-year Harvard MBA students drove 8,000 miles across the country, offering free business counseling to local entrepreneurs. With the success of their journey, two of the original team members expanded the program into a nonprofit organization and will visit 25 cities this summer, including Detroit. Their vision is to help nearly 50 small businesses in the process.

Chevrolet has recently stepped up to show support by announcing that it is providing 12 extended-range electric Volts to help expand the program.

Read more at Hybrid Cars.

25 July

Detroit Chosen as Location for $148M Manufacturing Innovation Center


Photo Credit: Xconomy, Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing.

In February of this year, President Obama announced that Michigan had won a competitive national bidding process to host the new, $148 million American Lightweight Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMII) created as part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) initiative. This week, officials revealed that ALMII will be headquartered on Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, utilizing a 107,000-square-foot facility that was vacated by Mexican Industries more than a decade ago.

A public-private partnership led by the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Ohio-based manufacturing technology nonprofit EWI, and the U.S. Department of Defense. The institute will receive $70 million in federal funding over five years and will concentrate on innovations in lightweight materials—high-strength steel, aluminum, titanium, and magnesium—for land, sea, and air vehicle applications.

Read more at Xconomy.

26 July

Why Detroit is Great for Launching a Startup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s a lot of noise about entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and New York, says LevelEleven founder Bob Marsh. But listen closely and you can hear a new buzz coming out of the Motor City.

“Some of us have always believed in Detroit’s potential. But in the last year, the rest of the country has begun to recognize the business value our city holds. Lucky for us, a lot of it has come about through the launch of innovative and forward-thinking startups like UpTo, Marketplace Homes, HealPay, and Hired My Way“, says Marsh.

Read more at Techonomy.

17 July

$2 Million Michigan Angel Fund Begins Investing in Early Stage Companies

header-logoThe Michigan Angel Fund (MAF), a professionally managed equity fund focused on capital efficient early stage companies located in Michigan, recently closed the fund to new investors.  MAF is a $2 million fund that, with more than 70 members, is the largest angel organization in Michigan.

MAF has already made its first investment, in East Lansing-based BioPhotonics Solutions, a Michigan State University spin-out venture, producing technology that automates the process of shaping and compressing ultrashort (femtosecond) laser pulses, ultimately improving their utility.

“MAF is an important addition to Michigan’s evolving entrepreneurial eco-system,” explains MAF managing director Skip Simms.  “The venture industry in our state has grown dramatically the past few years, with hundred of millions of dollars ready to be deployed in companies needing several million to grow.  Our focus is on funding companies that do not need a lot of capital to get to profitability. Most VCs aren’t interested in these investments because the companies are too small, but these smaller companies can still generate significant ROI and contribute to the overall health of our economy.”

MAF was established by Ann Arbor SPARK, with administrative support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, to help finance early stage companies in Michigan and to attract additional angel investors.

MAF’s managing member is Ann Arbor SPARK.  As managing member, Ann Arbor SPARK coordinates screenings of fund applicants, conducts due diligence, and works with the New Enterprise Forum to prepare companies for their investor presentations.    Ann Arbor SPARK also works with business accelerator organizations around the state to identify quality companies for potential MAF investment.

MAF funds companies that are seeking early investments from $200,000 to $2,000,000.

Businesses interested in applying for MAF investment can find info about the selection process online at http://www.miangelfund.com/entrepreneurs/working-with-us/