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Kauffman Study Finds Entrepreneurial Support ‘Powerhouse’ in SE Michigan

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According to a study led by the Kauffman Foundation, the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan – the group of the region’s four key business accelerators, Ann Arbor Spark, Automation Alley, the Macomb-OU Incubator and TechTown — have created more than 1,000 jobs and invested approximately $18 million in hundreds of start-up companies while securing more than $101.2 million in additional capital, a 6-to-1 investment ratio.

This regional evaluation of assets lays out the powerful existing capabilities of these business accelerators and substantiates that the network provides the support needed to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan’s asset map details the network’s strengths at building and supporting an entrepreneurial culture in southeast Michigan while also pointing out overlap in services, with the goal of determining how to strengthen the network and better encourage business growth and job creation.

“The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan was originally created to make the best use of the many business growth related resources that our region has to offer,” said Ken Rogers, Automation Alley executive director. “The goal is that, together, we will build momentum around innovation in southeast Michigan, not only to better Michigan’s economy, but also to show other regions what can be done when resources are met with strategy. This study is a step in that direction.”

The asset map was completed within the first six months of the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan’s founding and primarily represents data from 2010. Findings were gathered from a series of interviews, surveys and reports that evaluated individual and organizational assets in the region. An independent consultant from the Kauffman Foundation gathered the data and analyzed and reported the results.

More than 1,700 companies have received some level of services from the network, which has led to the creation of more than 1,000 jobs. Additionally, the network manages a total of eight funds that have granted about $18 million to 339 start-ups and has secured more than $101.2 million in additional capital for fund recipients, an investment ratio of six to one.

The network’s strengths are education and coaching available to all stages of entrepreneurs, funding available to qualified clients, strong university relationships and a high use of volunteers. Approximately 549 company advisors were identified, 88 percent of those, volunteers. The core industry strengths of the advisors are information technology, manufacturing, life sciences and services. Most advisors reported more than 10 years of experience in their fields.

In addition, although the study points out each organization’s unique assets, more importantly, together they connect the many resources and players that are critical in supporting new company creation.

The study concludes that all organizations included in the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan provide the assistance that is essential for sustaining a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan is a solid example of the success that can be achieved when key organizations in the region work together,” said New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan Executive Director Dave Egner. “This regional effort allows each organization to build upon each other’s strengths, ultimately creating a strong support network for entrepreneurs and growing businesses in southeast Michigan”

The asset map is one of two major projects that the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan has completed since its founding in June 2010. In December 2010, the network hosted the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition – the world’s largest business plan competition and awarded more than $1 million in cash and in-kind services to innovative entrepreneurial companies and students in its first year.

The company competition received 280 applications, 89 percent of which came from Michigan. Applications came from second stage companies primarily in the industries of alternative energy, life sciences, information technology and products and services, and the grand prize of $500,000 was awarded to Kalamazoo-based Armune BioScience. The student business plan competition received 260 applications from students enrolled in Michigan universities and colleges. The grand prize of $25,000 went to ReGenerate, founded by University of Michigan students Hunt Briggs, Paul M. Davis, Robert Levine and Nolan Orfield.

In June 2010, the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, an innovative philanthropic effort to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy, announced a $3 million grant over three years to support the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, a region-wide collaborative comprising Ann Arbor Spark, Automation Alley, the Macomb OU-Incubator and TechTown.

The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan works to attract and retain business in Southeast Michigan by sharing best practices, hosting events focused on addressing issues and goals that impact the region, supporting business plan development and leveraging funding to grow business in the region. It supports business development through a variety of innovative projects and programs.

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan is a philanthropic effort to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy that expands opportunity for all. Ten national, regional and local foundations have committed $100 million to this unprecedented eight-year initiative, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield), the Ford Foundation (New York City), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami), The Kresge Foundation (Troy), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint), and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit).

More at http://neweconomyinitiative.cfsem.org/.

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