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Michigan’s Emerging Technology Fund

by SBTDC Emerging Technologies Fund

The Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund (Michigan ETF) is designed to expand funding opportunities for Michigan technology based companies in the federal innovation research and development arena. The Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), dedicated $1.4 million in 2008/2009 to match federal SBIR/STTR funding opportunities for exceptional research and technical innovation generated in Michigan.

The program requires twenty hours per week to manage.  Three full-time MI-SBTDC employees devote 10-15% of their week managing the program.  Through technology they are able to do this from separate locations.  This is made possible by the implementation of advanced online client interaction tools through the website.

Circuit BoardSince this is a multi-stage grant application process, once registered, the clients are entered in a database which allows them to come back at a later time and proceed with the award application process. The system is designed in a way that allows the users to apply for awards; request the awards; upload supporting documents and upload follow-up reports.

The web site also includes detailed program information and FAQs to assist in the application process.

On the administrative side, all data and electronic documents are stored in a secure SharePoint database available online to the MI-SBTDC administrative team.  The data is web-based and available 24/7.

To date the program has awarded 19 grants.  It is entering its second phase with an additional $1.4 million fund (bringing the total to $2.8 million) available until funds are exhausted.

Windmill“Phrixus received an award from the Emerging Technologies Fund in 2008.  This award was very important to the further development and commercialization of our product, since it gave us the extra working capital we needed to take it to the next level,” stated Thomas A. Collet, Chairman at Phrixus.

“SBIR and STTR federal research contracts provide critical funding for small business technology development projects, but there are several restrictions on how these dollars can be spent.  The Michigan ETF program is so important because it provides funding to cover costs that are not allowed under the SBIR/STTR program, but are vital to commercialization including intellectual property protection, marketing and business plan development,” said Phil Tepley, MI-SBTDC Technology Team Coordinator.

The purpose of the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund is to:

  • Encourage companies to pursue SBIR/STTR  grants and contracts
  • Increase Michigan’s competitiveness in obtaining SBIR/STTR funds
  • Increase commercial success of Michigan SBIR/STTR projects
  • Stimulate early stage technology investing activity in Michigan.

The program has been developed with the help of software engineers to speed up the progress for application, maintain all the information in a collaborative environment, and have a convenient system for the small business to access the state funding.  The site was developed in less than a month’s time, but has more than proven its ability to manage the fund with minimum oversight.

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