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Michigan Central Launches $1.5M Fund to Help Tech-based Startups Take Business to Next Level in Michigan

August 29, 2023

DBusiness Magazine
Aug. 23, 2023
Jim Sitckford and R.J. King

Michigan Central today announced applications are now being accepted for a new fund that offers technology-based startups up to $200,000 to help them scale their presence in Michigan.

The Michigan Central Scale Fund is designed to get startups broadly focused on mobility, materials, and energy to the next step and to build upon previous pilots or conduct activities that help attract follow-on customers in Michigan.

The companies selected as recipients will also gain membership to Newlab and access to its amenities and business-boosting benefits. Newlab is the startup ecosystem at Michigan Central, and its model draws talent from around metro Detroit and the world to innovate, test, and enable the adoption of solutions to society’s mobility challenges.

The fund aligns with Michigan Central’s goal of becoming the world’s home of innovation and a leading tech ecosystem, and will award startups $20,000 to $200,000, and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Michigan Central is meant to help advance technologies and programs that address barriers to social, economic, and physical mobility. Its open-platform community connects startups with established companies, government entities and innovators to collaborate and fast-track answers to many of our world’s problems.

The 30-acre campus is a convening place where companies can advance a more sustainable, equitable future through a community-based approach to mobility solutions. Building on Detroit’s history as an engine of change, the Michigan Central project aims to strengthen the city’s existing fabric of community and accelerate its economy, while inspiring collective action on the most pressing challenges at the intersection of mobility and society worldwide.

Companies applying for the Michigan Central Scale Fund will be evaluated based on previous pilot activity, business model sustainability and potential to drive economic development for the region. The application is on the Michigan Central website, at www.michigancentral.com/michigan-central-scale-fund-application.

Newlab, the mobility innovation hub located at Michigan Central, will support the evaluation of applications and manage the pilots funded through the fund.

“The Michigan Central Scale Fund has two key missions in not only helping advance important technological advancements but to keep startups in Michigan or draw them here,” says Joshua Sirefman, CEO of Michigan Central. “We’re already seeing incredible innovation and collaboration here at Michigan Central, and the Scale Fund will help us keep that momentum moving forward while helping Detroit’s re-emergence as a leading destination for innovation.”

In announcing the opening of applications to the public, Michigan Central also announced the first Scale Fund recipient. JustAir Solutions – a tech startup based at Newlab at Michigan Central – received $33,000 to expand its efforts in the greater Corktown/ southwest Detroit area.

The Black-owned company, whose technology and fight for environmental justice was showcased by CNN in June. It monitors air quality to protect the community and create awareness around the impact of potential unseen dangers in the air.

The Michigan Central Scale Fund is supported by Michigan Central’s public-private partnership with the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit, and through the Michigan Strategic Fund.

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