MEDC Keeps Up Push For HighTech Industry

June 19, 2002
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LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has taken two more steps in its trek for more high-tech.

The MEDC, the state’s economic development agency, recently formed the Michigan Growth Capital Fund, a $5 million account that will be used to encourage further public and private investments in Michigan’s technology business sector.

“This fund will serve as a catalyst to develop some of Michigan’s most cutting-edge visions helping to further cement our state’s technologically advanced reputation,” said MEDC President and CEO Doug Rothwell.

At almost the same time, Rothwell announced that the Michigan Microsystems Alliance was the first recipient of Growth Capital Funds.

The alliance, charged with growing the state’s microsystems industry, was awarded $2.5 million, or half of the fund’s available dollars.

The award is a challenge grant, and the state hopes it fuels matching donations from businesses and other government sectors throughout the state.

The alliance is led by a board that includes members from the University of Michigan, Michigan Technological University, Wayne State University, the MEDC, Ardesta and Integrated Sensing Systems.

“Michigan is positioning itself as a leader in the emerging field of microsystems. This concerted effort between Michigan’s leading MEMS businesses and university leaders will move that direction forward,” said Rothwell.

A recent study done by the University of Minnesota found that metro Detroit had the 13th largest number of high-tech workers among major U.S. cities.

The report said that Detroit has 138,800 employed in the high-tech field, moving it ahead of Phoenix, San Diego and Austin, Texas.

The state is seventh in high-tech employment when automotive industry workers are taken into account. That ranking came from a study done by the Center for Automotive Research and paid for by the MEDC.

Money from the Michigan Growth Capital Fund can be used for:

  • Investments in organizations and programs that create and promote the development of new industry sectors in the state.

  • Inducements to attract additional venture capital funds to finance the development of technology.

  • Support of organizations, initiatives or events that promote entrepreneurship.

  • Support of the transfer of technology and commercialization programs with universities and the private sector.

In order to receive funding, applicants must match the funds on a one-to-one basis. Funds can be awarded in the form of grants, loans or some other arrangement.

Rothwell said microsystems expert Roger Grace is conducting a study that will develop a growth strategy for the industry, which will be put into use by the alliance.

The alliance will hear Grace’s recommendations in December.

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