Small Companies are the backbone of the U.S. economy. They provide one of the largest opportunities for growth and form critical supply chains to big industry. Small companies that innovate remain globally competitive, continue to employ, and create a greater positive economic impact often creating more jobs by bringing more efficient products and services to market.
Innovation often necessitates significant research and special resources, research and resources that are available at universities. However, university resources are often unknown or unaffordable to small companies.
The Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN), a program supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in collaboration with Michigan universities, provides the Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP). The SCIP program, managed by the Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan (U-M), is a collaborative effort between the MEDC and Michigan universities to help small companies more aware of university resources, identify specific resources to meet the company’s needs, and help make those resources affordable with 1:1 matching funds up to $40,000. The program results in new industry and university relationships and the acceleration of technology into the marketplace, as well as, maintaining and creating high paying jobs. SCIP projects also expose students to projects at small companies, starting relationships that can lead to future employment.
In 2017, SCIP has awarded new funding to 20 small company and university teams working on the next generation tech in various industries. (More on the projects below)
The number of companies submitting project request packages in 2017 was double that in 2015. SCIP and the MCRN program have been serving business and university engagement since 2012. Since then, the SCIP program has funded 101 company projects statewide at 12 different universities, created 256 high-tech jobs, attracted $102.4 million in additional federal and private funding, and $164 million in new sales. “The Michigan Corporate Relations Network, Small Company Innovation Program is a key resource for small companies connecting them to research in our universities. This collaboration highlights the need for important university resources in support of small companies and their critical need for assistance to continue their progress in the commercial market.” states Denise Graves, University Relations Director, MEDC.
In addition to identifying resources and translating academia to industry speak, the SCIP team assist the companies with market intelligence and analysis, business coaching, and accessing capital to support successful commercialization.
Recent examples of SCIP funded projects:
Petoskey Plastics: SCIP helps manufacturer adopt Industry 4.0 technology
The SCIP team identified university expertise at Michigan Tech University to create an automated plastics analysis technology to help Petoskey Plastics increase recycled material volume, providing a greener product to existing clients, increasing their global competitiveness, and opening up new markets while keeping jobs right here in Michigan.
Stabilux: SCIP accelerates cytometry technology
SCIP orchestrated projects at U-M and MTU, providing access to millions of dollars of equipment, to test and refine cytometry technology with the potential to serve multi-million dollar markets.
Encoris: SCIP efficiently provides access to world class technology development expertise
Within 6-weeks of meeting Encoris at MichBio, the SCIP team was able to quickly assess technology development needs, connect the company with GVSU’s advanced Medical Device Institute, assist with a scope of work and initiate a research project.
Life Magnetics: SCIP unlocks commercial opportunities
SCIP worked with Life Magnetics to develop a scope of work with an academic expert at Wayne State University to demonstrate product performance, which enabled beta testing at a genomic technology lab and order discussions with an industry leader in precision medicine and gene signature optimization.