ANN ARBOR — The University of Michigan’s North Campus Research Complex is a pretty good metaphor for the work of the Ann Arbor area’s economic development agency, Ann Arbor Spark. Abandoned by pharma giant Pfizer Inc. and taken over by the University of Michigan, the huge complex is now a hotbed of academic research, entrepreneurship and business incubation.
That makes the NCRC the perfect place for Spark to celebrate its 2013 at its annual meeting Tuesday — 2013 being a year when Spark’s work led to the creation of 1,509 new jobs and $148 million in investment in the region.
Spark also said it assisted 274 startups and in the incubation of 83 new companies during the year.
Spark’s annual report, which details these successes, is available at this link.
At the meeting, Spark also announced the launch of the Virtual Business Advisor, a program offered in collaboration with Ann Arbor city government and the A2Y Chamber.
The Virtual Business Advisor is an online tool to help business owners assess their needs and access tools and training to meet those needs. Virtual Business Advisor will officially launch to the public in June 2014.
Spark also presented its business leadership awards, including 2013 Volunteer of the Year, Entrepreneurial Company of the Year and Business Development Project of the Year.
Its 2013 Volunteer of the Year, Ken Nisbet, was recognized for his passion for economic development and growing the local economy and companies. Under Nisbet’s leadership as executive director of the University of Michigan’s Office of Tech Transfer, UM has achieved substantial growth in tech transfer performance and established a reputation as one of the leading tech transfer offices in the nation.
The Entrepreneurial Company of the Year, Tangent Medical Technologies, was recognized for its use of Spark’s entrepreneurial services to grow from startup to established and growing company. The growing medical device firm, which is commercializing a new class of intravenous fluid delivery catheters, has received Food and Drug Administration approval for its NovaCath catheter, closed on an $8.6 million round of funding, and was awarded a patent that covers a range of incorporated technologies. It recently began accepting commercial orders for its NovaCath system.
Lake Trust Credit Union was recognized as Business Development Project of the Year, for having had a significant impact on the regional economy. Lake Trust Credit Union plans to build a new $30 million headquarters near Brighton and plans to invest a total of $40 million in Michigan over the next five years.