SOUTHFIELD—The Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University will receive a two-year commitment of $750,000 from the city of Southfield to support Southfield-based entrepreneurs with education, resources, and mentorship.
The money comes from the city’s $9.8 million American Rescue Plan allocation. The Centrepolis Accelerator, co-founded by the city and LTU in 2018, is one of the nation’s few business accelerators that concentrates on manufacturers and physical products, rather than software.
“Southfield Business Development identified a need to provide greater support to emerging small businesses owners and created a pilot program, Southfield Evolution Lab,” said Shelly Freeman, the city’s business and economic development director. “The Evolution Lab leverages our success with Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University. Tapping into the accelerator’s experts-in-residence, we will provide clear and direct support to guide the evolution of the underserved Southfield entrepreneurs into a robust community.”
Southfield City Council approved the initial commitment of $150,000 at the Nov. 8, 2021 city council meeting. These dollars served as a match New Economy Initiative’s Inclusive Small Business Network Fund to support small “micro maker” businesses of up to 50 employees located in Southfield and Wayne County that classify as undeserved businesses (managed by people of color, women, veterans, or people with disabilities) or located in distressed communities.
The Southfield Evolution Lab provides business and technical assistance to small micro businesses in launching new products or businesses. While Centrepolis generally specializes in helping makers of physical products and small manufacturers of goods, the Accelerator is opening up its business counseling support to service-based businesses located in Southfield to ensure a broader group of entrepreneurs are supported through the Evolution program. Seasoned veteran experts offer business planning and product development services to help launch new businesses and new products, as well as provide scaling for existing businesses. The services include product development, prototyping, business strategy, marketing and sales support; assistance with intellectual property issues such as patents, trademarks and copyrights; securing grants and loans; and fundraising assistance.
The Southfield Evolution Lab program can also provide up to $10,000 grants to support business and technical milestones of select underserved businesses. The Evolution Lab is open to qualified startups, established small businesses, inventors, and product developers located in Southfield. To apply, visit https://www.centrepolisaccelerator.com/Programs/Southfield-Evolution-Lab.
About Southfield Evolution Lab & Centrepolis Accelerator
The Southfield Evolution lab is a partnership between the City of Southfield and Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University, working together to help invigorate the entrepreneurial business spirit within our community so businesses can expand, thrive, and prosper. In the past 10 months, the Southfield Evolution Lab has already received over 100 inquires, held over 250 client meetings, and served 32 Southfield clients, with 11 receiving funding of more than $63,000 in total commitments.
About the Centrepolis Accelerator
The Centrepolis Accelerator, housed in Lawrence Technological University’s Enterprise Center in Southfield, is 6,300 square feet of business assistance for physical product developers and manufacturing companies, a unique niche among accelerators in Michigan. Since inception, the Centrepolis Accelerator has worked with over 375 companies, created over 360 new jobs, and commercialized over 150 products, resulting in $80 million in revenue or new investment. Clients include manufacturing startups and existing companies looking to move up to the next level in product innovation. Services include access to office space, co-working space, workshops, mentors, business planning services, and laboratories and equipment for product design and prototyping.
For more information, contact Southfield Business Development at (248) 796-4120 or visit www.centrepolisaccelerator.com.
Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. 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.