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Representatives from 15 public universities in Michigan gathered at Michigan State University for a bi-annual meeting to coordinate the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN).

The Michigan Corporate Relations Network representatives at the December planning meeting.

The Michigan Corporate Relations Network representatives at the December planning meeting.

MCRN, who’s $1.4 million grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) was just renewed, provides access to talent and research for companies in the state of Michigan through Michigan public universities.

In 2017 alone, MCRN and the company matches funded 134 internships at 130 companies throughout the state of Michigan. Those internships resulted in 83 jobs retained after the internships were completed. Over $411,000 was awarded for the internships.

In addition, 22 small companies were awarded nearly $550,000 to conduct research projects during the same time frame. The companies partnered with nine of the MCRN universities for research: Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech, Saginaw Valley State University, UM-Ann Arbor, UM-Dearborn, UM-Flint and Wayne State University.

Funding is provided through two primary programs: the Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP), which provides matching funds up to $40,000 to Michigan small businesses to help cover the cost of conducting a research project at any state of Michigan public university, and the Small Company Internship Award Program (SCIA), which provides funding to help small businesses hire university students to work as interns on projects that are both beneficial to the company and academically relevant to the student.

SCIP impact dataOne of the biggest challenges MCRN faces is generating awareness of these program to relevant businesses in Michigan. “Small companies in Michigan have a unique program available to them. Utilizing the resources of the Michigan Corporate Relations Network should reduce barriers to small companies and funnel opportunities for growth and development,” shares the primary investigator on the grant, Stella Wixom, Executive Director of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor’s Business Engagement Center.

The MCRN network represents a collaborative partnership between state universities to enhance economic opportunity, provide pathways for talent to stay in Michigan, and create a comprehensive network of experts for businesses.

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Participating universities include: