Centrepolis Accelerator @ LTU announces new defense hardtech program

SOUTHFIELD—Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator, in collaboration with the U.S. Army, announced the inception of the Defense Hardtech Accelerator Program. Designed to bolster domestic product development and manufacturing, the initiative focuses on mitigating supply chain gaps, particularly in ground defense and commercial mobility technology.

Backed by a $4.9 million grant from the Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program by DoD’s Office of Local Defense Community to establish the Michigan Defense Resiliency Consortium, led by the Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan, this program will establish a Defense Hardtech Accelerator led by Centrepolis in partnership with the U.S. Army.

The need for this initiative is evident as the number of small businesses serving as subcontractors and suppliers for the military has declined by over 40% in the past decade. Without intervention, the Defense Department risks losing an additional 15,000 suppliers over the next decade, as highlighted in a 2022 Pentagon report. Additionally, DoD-funded early-stage technologies have encountered challenges in commercialization.

Through a Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA), Centrepolis and U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) have established the program to collaborate on identifying defense hardtech innovations that align with the ground vehicle technology applications. This partnership leverages GVSC’s publicly available patent portfolio to commercialize or transfer defense hardtech innovations to industry.

“The Defense Hardtech Accelerator represents a critical step accelerating the commercialization of ground vehicle technologies,” Centrepolis CEO Dan Radomski said. “Many of the innovations we will be supporting through this program have both defense and commercial industry applications. Our focus will be on developing technologies that address domestic supply chain gaps, strengthen national security and create manufacturing jobs in Michigan.”

The primary goal of the Defense Hardtech Accelerator is to commercialize “dual-purpose” technologies with applications in both commercial and military sectors, emphasizing domestic design, engineering, prototyping, and manufacturing. Focus areas include mobility, electrification, light weighting, drones, and improved logistics for ground vehicle applications. Centrepolis utilizes in house product development services to help commercialize physical hardtech products. Centrepolis partners closely with Munro Defense to support value engineering including product cost estimating and design for manufacturability services to ensure companies design their products for durability and cost reductions before they go to market.

“We are excited to collaborate with LTU’s Centrepolis Accelerator on this important initiative,” said a spokesperson from DEVCOM GVSC. “By investing in technology companies with military applications, we aim to enhance ground vehicle capabilities while supporting domestic manufacturing and innovation.”

The Defense Hardtech Accelerator Program will provide funding for product development services, connections to the U.S. Army, and access to testing platforms to validate technologies for specific ground vehicle applications. Learn more about the program here: https://www.centrepolisaccelerator.com/Programs/DHA

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. Clients include climatech, manufacturing startups, and existing companies looking to move up to the next level in product innovation. Services include product design, engineering, and prototyping, as well as business planning services, office space, co-working space, workshops, mentors and events.

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, Engineering, and Health Sciences, as well as Specs@LTU as part of its growing Center for Professional Development. 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 list it in the top tier of the best 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.

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