$250,000 boost

Apr 2, 2009

Kettering University's ongoing efforts to support the creation of new and emerging businesses in mid-Michigan will receive $250,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Kettering University will receive $250,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in its efforts to support new and emerging businesses to develop into high-growth employers for the region.  Kettering is receiving one of only five grants that will be awarded by the MEDC.

Kettering President Stan Liberty said, “Over the past few years Kettering has been methodically assembling capabilities, programmatic efforts and external support that will enable the university to assist in building a new ‘back to the future’ economy in this region.   This grant from the MEDC is one more welcome piece in this mosaic.  We are grateful for MEDC's support of our efforts and its vote of confidence in what we are doing.”

Kettering Provost Michael Harris, who led the development of the proposal for the business incubator, said Kettering is very pleased with the announcement.  "We are delighted to receive this award from such a competitive grant program," he said, "and we're committed to be a hub for providing entrepreneurship services which has become more critical in the current difficult economic times.

"This is consistent with our efforts to enhance a culture of entrepreneurship on campus and to participate in the social and economic well being of the region," he continued.  "Our ongoing collaborations with the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce and other regional entities are part of Kettering's contribution to offset a decline in traditional manufacturing employment in mid-Michigan."

Kettering University TechWorks Director Neil Sheridan said the MEDC investment will allow Kettering to identify promising new innovators and help them with planning and growing their new businesses while they perfect the underlying technology.  “We will collaborate with our local, regional and state partners to launch these high-potential, rapid growth companies," Sheridan added.

Helping Kettering in the grant process was Michigan Representative Richard Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Township), vice chair of Appropriations and chair of Energy and Economic Development for the Michigan Legislature.  

Hammel said he is pleased to see that the good things happening in the community are also being recognized by the state.  "This award is an indicator of the economic development potential Kettering offers.  I am encouraged by the collaborative efforts made by multiple partners throughout the county to secure this award," he said.  “My hope is that this money will help TechWorks grow its research facilities -- attracting entrepreneurs and further solidifying Kettering's reputation as a leader in R&D."

Also assisting Kettering in achieving this grant was Tim Herman, CEO of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce.  “The receipt of the MEDC grant is an important step in the growth and development of the TechWorks project at Kettering University,” Herman said.  “Every investment in the TechWorks program is an investment in our community’s redevelopment. The Regional Chamber we will continue to support this fine program and Kettering’s efforts to grow new businesses and jobs in Genesee County,” Herman added.

Harris noted that the goal for the $250,000 is to accelerate new technology that TechWorks will bring to investors and ultimately to the marketplace, an effort that will create local jobs.  Michigan's Federal Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) provides partial funding. 

For more on the MEDC, visit: http://www.themedc.org/ 

For more on Kettering University TechWorks, visit: http://www.ku-tw.com/

Written by Patricia Mroczek