SOUTHFIELD—The New Economy Initiative has made a $150,000 grant to the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University to support new and existing small product manufacturers located in Wayne County by members of historically underrepresented groups.
The grant will fund a “MicroMakers Evolution Lab” to serve companies led by women, people of color, veterans, people with disabilities, and companies located in distressed communities.
Services provided to these companies will include product design, design for manufacturability, prototyping, testing, material selection, tool design, marketing and sales support, and financing connections. Many of the services will be provided by Centrepolis Accelerator Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, veteran manufacturing executives who have agreed to serve as consultants to accelerator clients. The grant will be combined with funds from other partners in the Centrepolis Accelerator to offer services, support, and funding for promising small local product manufacturers. Funds will be available through Dec. 31, 2022.
Businesses assisted under the program must have 50 or fewer employees and be engaged in manufacturing physical products. The support will include a “success fee” where funds will be returned to the Accelerator when client companies hit revenue milestones, resulting in money to be recirculated to other startups through the program. Accelerator officials also said they will work with other startup funding organizations to leverage additional financial support for clients of the program.
“Centrepolis has been blessed by financial support from the New Economy Initiative, specifically previous grants to help us establish a pilot program to support underserved entrepreneurs,” said Dan Radomski, executive director of the Centrepolis Accelerator. “The new program will be focused on helping Wayne County-based Micro Makers, small businesses with physical products, to commercialize and scale their manufacturing operations. The economic impact from this effort cannot be overlooked. As we help our hardware clients grow, we are also sending significant business to the local supply chain that is directly helping with their design, engineering, prototyping, testing, and manufacturing.”
Companies interested in applying for support under the MicroMakers Evolution Lab program should contact Dennis Shaver, Centrepolis Accelerator Expert-in-Residence, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 15 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.