Accelerator Gains Speed
LANSING — The Michigan Strategic Fund board will soon announce who will be awarded a $6 million grant to develop and direct an automotive technology business accelerator, a sector in which the state is hoping to develop a greater efficiency.
The announcement is expected to come within the next few weeks.
State law requires the MSF board to use the request for proposal process to select a firm or an institution to oversee the accelerator. Proposals were due last week, and it’s likely the board will only choose one entity to operate it. Board members are not expected to participate in that operation.
The $6 million that will be used to fuel the business accelerator comes from the 21st Century Jobs Fund, which recently awarded $100 million to 61 businesses and institutes across the state. Funding for the Jobs Fund comes from the $400 million settlement the state reached with the tobacco companies.
The business accelerator funds must be used to help the business sector compete internationally, by providing seed money to technology-based companies that have insights into research, development and commercialization aspects of the auto industry.
It will be left up to the grant winner to create the seed fund that will make the business investments. The winning bidder will also negotiate the intellectual property rights with the companies selected to receive seed money.
“The automotive technology business accelerator will play a key role in our efforts to strengthen international business development, develop competitive-edge technologies and support of technology-based businesses and professionals,” said James Epolito, Michigan Economic Development Corp. president and CEO, and the president and chairman of the MSF board.
The MEDC, the state’s economic development agency, provides administrative services for the Michigan Strategic Fund.