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Three Firms Get $104k From Microloan Fund

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Three Michigan companies have received a combined total of $104,000 through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program, bringing the total amount invested through the fund to more than $1.3 million.

Terra-Telesis, KnowledgeWatch, and Uwemp received the funding to support commercialization of their core products.

Terra-Telesis, doing business as AWGET (Airport Wind Generated Electric Turbine), is based in Okemos. AWGET received microloan funding for the commercialization of emerging technology based on its unique low profile, vertical axis wind turbine. AWGET’s wind turbine is specifically designed to capture the powerful winds consistently generated by aircraft taking off and landing; this core technology is being used to create a new innovation for use in airport facilities that will significantly decrease and in some cases eliminate their dependence on power from fossil fuels.

“The microloan has been a lifeline for our company, enabling us to move forward with the development and studies of AWGET’s core product,” said Al Khavari, president of Terra-Telesis. “We also enjoyed a great deal of assistance from the MEDC in areas of entrepreneur education and training as well as business planning, and I firmly believe that with this support AWGET is well positioned to become a major player in the future of alternative and renewable clean energy and related technology.”

Based in Ann Arbor, KnowledgeWatch will use the microloan funding to support commercialization of its automated online knowledge product. KnowledgeWatch tracks and harvests multiple information sources to deliver one page, convenient, custom, intuitive, real-time news digests for knowledge workers and decision makers. The company saves its customers significant money, labor and provides a powerful utility helping their content managers accomplish their jobs productively and effectively.

“Funding from the Michigan Microloan Fund Program provides KnowledgeWatch needed support at our sales launch time-frame,” said Donald Hogan, KnowledgeWatch president. “The Microloan Fund Program is an additional, excellent feature on top of Ann Arbor Spark’s unique training and networking opportunities.”

Ann Arbor based Uwemp is an educational software company. Microloan funding will support commercialization of Uwemp’s “confidence-based learning,” its co-developed and licensed patented Web-based learning engine. Confidence-based learning offers students engaging and relevant curricula and programs to equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in today’s competitive economy.

“After acquiring our first few customers, microloan funding enabled Uwemp to serve our customers,” said Jordan Wolfe, Uwemp president. “Uwemp was able to get through the common problem so many technology companies face, the time between finishing development and substantial cash flow. The microloan is a perfect vehicle for companies to position themselves to acquire angel or venture capital investment.”

The $1.5 million Michigan Microloan Fund Program currently includes three distinct microloan funds. Through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program, $225,000 is available to start-ups via the Eastern Washtenaw Microloan Fund, $275,000 is available for companies located in the City of Ann Arbor via funding from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA) and $1 million through the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund award from the 21st Century Jobs Fund, administered through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Microloan funding is currently available only for companies in Washtenaw County.

Since the Michigan Microloan Fund Program was established in July 2009, 36 companies have received nearly $1.4 million in subordinated loans. Microloans available through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program range from $10,000 to $50,000. To qualify, companies must be a small business located in Michigan, have ownership or license to innovative technology, and be privately held.

For more information about the microloan programs managed by Ann Arbor Spark, visit www.annarborusa.org/funding-incentives.

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