WMSTI reviews loans

May 26, 2009
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Life sciences applicants for the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund’s Micro-Loan program will have to pass muster with the West Michigan Life Science & Technology Initiative in Grand Rapids.

WMSTI has been chosen to review applications from life sciences companies from across the state. The companies must be seeking $10,000 to $50,000 from the new program for early-stage capital.

The $1 million fund was created by the Michigan SmartZones consortium and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Strategic Economic Investment and Commercialization Board. It targets four sectors the state has identified for economic growth: life sciences; advanced automotive manufacturing and materials; alternative energy and homeland security and defense.

Applications will first be reviewed by each of the state’s 15 SmartZone organizations before being forwarded to WMSTI. The local group, which is an arm of Grand Valley State University, will then review those applications for a recommendation to the organizations governing the fund. It will assess whether the company has the potential to become a strong business in Michigan that could repay the loan.

“Being selected to review proposals for life sciences companies at such a critical phase in their development is a privilege,” said WMSTI Executive Director Linda Chamberlain.

“With the addition of the Micro Loan program, the Pre-Seed Capital Fund is now able to extend its reach to those companies that are past the personal and ‘friends and family’ funding, but not quite ready for true pre-seed or venture capital funding.”

To qualify for the program, a company must be in one of the four sectors, have sponsorship from its local SmartZone and meet the Small Business Association’s definition of a small business. The loan can cover costs associated with preparing a competitive analysis, financial pro formas, plans to meet regulatory requirements, a market study, finishing a prototype and travel to meet with partners or customers.

WMSTI is receiving a payment for its review services to cover administrative costs.

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