Ann Arbor SPARK Awarded $250,000 by U.S. Economic Development Administration to Develop Business Accelerator Model

Yesterday, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration announced a $250,000 grant award to Ann Arbor SPARK.  The funding will support development of a business accelerator model that can be used by communities throughout the U.S. Initially, the model will be deployed in Washtenaw and Wayne counties, providing a full range of business development services to tech-based start-up companies.

“Ann Arbor SPARK is emerging as a national leader in economic development through the creation and implementation of innovative business acceleration programs,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO, Ann Arbor SPARK.  “This program will enable Ann Arbor SPARK to build on our solid track record of success in helping businesses, and the economy, grow.  Our efforts will create opportunities for success throughout the state, and serve as a model for other communities throughout the country.”

Ann Arbor SPARK’s model will focus on helping emerging businesses with marketing and business development strategies, collaborative partnerships, business development and investor plans, IP strategies and commercialization strategies.  Local experts will be recruited to provide assistance and services to start-up companies.

Once developed and implemented throughout the region, the project will serve as a model for other communities wishing to start their own business accelerator programs.

“Continuous innovation and a flow of new technologies to the marketplace are vital to our job creation and competitiveness,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez. “This EDA grant will spur and accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship in southeastern Michigan to help diversify the economy and create new job opportunities.”


Reflection on the IEDC Annual Conference: Day Three

This week, I’m sharing my experiences from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 2010 Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Day 3
The day began with great discussions from Honorable John Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Department of Commerce, and James Hagedorn, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Marysville, Ohio. It was exciting to hear Mr. Fernandez speak about the importance of building an innovative ecosystem and talent pool that will create and spur jobs. Much of this acceleration and innovation will be lead by the regions and local levels. It was great to hear this with all the collaboration that has been occurring already in our region.

It was on to another session, Your Major Employer Leaves….What Now? and then the keynote luncheon. The lunch began with a speech on grits. Yes, grits! Charlotte is very excited to host the 2011 IEDC annual conference. Lunch was seafood from the Gulf Coast because of the great support IEDC offered in helping clean up the oil spill. It was great to see individuals from around the world being supportive of one cause.

My afternoon session was on National Laboratories: Powerful Resources for the Changing Landscape. The panel discussed numerous efforts to connect companies with the national laboratories.

It was off to the Excellence in Economic Development Awards Ceremony. Michigan was very well represented with the following organizations receiving awards:

  • Ann Arbor SPARK, honorable mention-Technology-Based Economic Development
  • Great Lakes Bay Economic Development Partnership, honorable mention-Regionalism and Cross-Border Collaboration population 25,000-200,000
  • The Right Place, category winner-Special Event population 200,000-500,000
  • Wayne County, honorable mention-Multi-Year Economic Development population greater than 500,000
  • Wayne County, category winner-Regionalism and Cross-Border Collaboration population greater than 500,000