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Michigan Strategic Fund Boosts High Tech Research, Entrepreneur Assistance And More

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MEDC

LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. Thursday announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of the designation of the first Center of Innovation in Michigan, renewal of the State Trade and Export Program, Entrepreneurial Service Provider Request for Proposals awards, a Michigan Business Development Program incentive, a General Motors MEGA amendment and a brownfield work plan approval.

Entrepreneurial Service Provider Request for Proposals awards

On Aug. 22, the MSF approved an allocation of $5.25 million for the Entrepreneurial Services Program and issued a Request for Proposals, which sought applications from nonprofit organizations and universities in Michigan to provide specialized support services to assist entrepreneurs in launching and growing high-tech companies throughout the state.

The MSF today approved nine awards of the 24 proposals that were received:

* First Customer Program ($1.5 million) — Awards were made to Michigan Tech Enterprise Corp., Mid-Michigan Innovation Center, and Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy to provide services and programs to assist new technology companies to identify, introduce, and close deals with “first” customers. Assistance includes sales training, mentoring and coaching to prepare young companies on approaching first customers to help them move to financial stability. Companies assisted through this process will receive services rather than funds.

* Industry Consortium Programs ($500,000) – Two newly forming organizations in the photonics and medical device industries, Mi-Light (photonics) and the Michigan Medical Device Accelerator, provided matching funds to receive a grant focused on building industries and connecting partners in the state. In addition, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center received funds to map and locate manufacturers interested in providing short runs, early runs, and prototypes for early stage technology companies.

* Federal Grant Matching Funds ($3.25 million) — Three programs — Grand Valley State University-Small Business Technology and Development Center (SBTDC), Macomb OU Inc. and NextEnergy Center — were funded to provide commercialization matching funds to companies receiving technology research federal grants. They also will promote the programs to encourage more early stage tech companies to take advantage of federal funding opportunities, including funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the Department of Defense; and the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-e), an agency of the Department of Energy.

* General Motors MEGA amendment — General Motors, LLC’s recent and proposed growth is causing the company to near the 30,000 cap for retained jobs on their Global Retention MEGA Tax credit, approved by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority on June 25, 2009. As a result of this growth, MSF approved an increase in the maximum allowance for retained jobs on their Global Retention MEGA tax credit from 30,000 to 33,000. In addition, the company received amendments to the Global retention MEGA tax credit, the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Engineering Credit, and the Amendment to Plug-In Battery Pack Credit to simplify, clarify, and enhance the credit agreements.

* Magna Sealing and Glass Systems, a manufacturing division of Magna Exteriors and Interiors, designs, develops and manufactures advanced automotive components. Magna Sealing and Glass plans to invest up to $10.1 million to expand its Holland Charter Township operations to develop, test and commercialize a new sunroof technology for the automobile industry, in addition to other new technologies to be applied to automotive glass. The company anticipates the project will create approximately 177 new jobs over the new-product development period, resulting in a performance-based Business Development Incentive of $1.2 million. Michigan was chosen over competing sites, and Holland Charter Township has offered support to the project in the form of a 12-year tax abatement.

* SRI International Center of Innovation — In July the MSF authorized $7 million for the Centers of Innovation program to promote the development, acceleration and sustainability of competitive edge technology sectors in the state. The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved the first Center of Innovation designation and $5 million in funding for the Biosciences Division of SRI International, a Menlo, Calif.-based independent, nonprofit research institute. SRI will establish a phase 1 clinical trial service facility at the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center in Plymouth for the purpose of accelerating SRI technologies and technologies from biotech companies, universities and hospitals to development and commercialization. The MSF will receive a portion of royalties and equity if new SRI technologies originate predominantly from the facility.

* State Trade and Export Promotion program — The MSF approved a second year of funding for MEDC to provide financial assistance for export-related activities to Michigan companies with fewer than 500 employees. The funds are being awarded through a $2.2 million federal export award to the State of Michigan under the U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade and Export Promotion program. The SBA STEP grant program provides direct reimbursements to qualified companies with fewer than 500 employees for export-related activities, ranging from free or low-cost export training and technical counseling to participation fees for international trade missions. State project award amounts vary based on the proposed project plan and budget.  Michigan received the second largest award in the country.

* 618 South Main Project – The Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will use MEGA school and local tax capture valued at $2.9 million to redevelop a contaminated property into a six to seven story residential building that will be specifically targeted to young professionals. The 150-170 units will be comprised of loft-style studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, many with balconies or porches. The project is expected to generate approximately $32.9 million in new investment and create six full time jobs.

The MEDC markets the state with a focus on business, talent, jobs and helping to grow the economy. For more on MEDC and its initiatives, visit: MichiganAdvantage.org.

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