Economic Growth Institute recognized for innovative programs that benefit Michigan businesses

November 15, 2019
Contact: Bernie DeGroat

ANN ARBOR—A pair of innovative programs that help Michigan businesses have garnered the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute this year’s Innovation Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

The APLU’s Innovation Award for Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities was given to the Economic Growth Institute for its Small Company Innovation Program and First Customer Program, which both address major innovation needs of businesses in Michigan. Together, they accelerate the growth of new technology firms and build connections between small- and medium-sized firms with Michigan’s public universities.

The programs are supported by funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“This model of programs has been shown to be very effective and helps diversify Michigan’s economy with highly competitive businesses based on solid technologies,” said Paula Sorrell, director of the Economic Growth Institute. “We couldn’t be more proud of what these programs have achieved, and we are excited to showcase how innovative businesses have thrived with this assistance.”

Since 2013 the programs have:

  • Created $133 in economic impact for every $1 received from the MEDC
  • Created 1,500 new jobs with an average salary of $91,518
  • Facilitated and supported projects with companies in 40 Michigan cities
  • Provided support to small technology companies that went on to launch new products resulting in revenues and new investments in the companies totaling $573 million
  • Matched $2.3 million in MEDC funds with private sector money, totaling $5.5 million in lab projects
  • Scoped, facilitated and delivered 105 technical research projects across Michigan universities to 83 different research labs for small and early-stage tech companies
  • Developed and/or licensed 190 items of intellectual property
  • Engaged 300 university students during the projects, expanding their educational opportunities and exposing the next workforce to the tech economy in Michigan

“The University of Michigan is honored to receive this award as another example of how we continue to have a significant and positive impact on Michigan’s economy,” said U-M President Mark Schlissel.

MEDC CEO Jeff Mason says U-M has been a steadfast partner in supporting the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for many years.

“We look forward to building upon these types of meaningful collaborations so we can continue providing greater opportunities for startups throughout the state,” he said.

The U-M Economic Growth Institute leverages university resources, research, technologies and expertise to foster innovation and create positive economic impact by working with small- and medium-sized enterprises. The institute also received a recognition award in 2017 from the International Economic Development Council for similar work.

The APLU’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities program recognizes higher education institutions that are leading economic and community development. The designation recognizes institutions that have demonstrated a meaningful, ongoing and substantial commitment to economic and community development, growth and economic opportunity.


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