In addition to the services offered to all companies by the Business Engagement Center, the University of Michigan is an active partner in the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN), a statewide university network providing invaluable resources for small companies. Designed to create partnerships connecting Michigan businesses to critical university assets in order to help promote innovative research and grow Michigan’s economy, the six major public universities in the state participating are the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University. MCRN programs for small Michigan companies include:

Small Company Internship Award (SCIA)

The Small Company Internship Award Program (SCIA) 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. Especially targeted toward Michigan businesses in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, the SCIA program is designed to increase students’ exposure to innovative processes and products emerging from companies that employ high-skill workers and to encourage student job placements with innovative and dynamic Michigan companies after graduation. To be eligible for the SCIA program, companies must be based in Michigan with significant business operations in the state. The SCIA is a matching grant program where funding for a 12-week internship or co-op position is split evenly between the SCIA and the hosting company. For more information, click here.

Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP)/Technology and Commercialization Assistance (TCA)

The Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP)/Technology and Commercialization Assistance (TCA) provides matching funds to Michigan small businesses to help cover the cost of conducting a research project at a university within MCRN. The program is intended to help companies overcome a common challenge faced by small companies and entrepreneurs – getting research needs met so they can get to commercialization faster. Often, universities have the expertise and facilities that the company needs, but small companies may not be able to afford the cost of conducting research at a university. SCIP/TCA provides matching funds to help cover the cost of university research projects that will help a small company meet its development goals. The program aims to introduce companies to the benefits of working with a university and to increase the number of university/industry collaborations across the state. To apply, click here.

University Experts Portal

The Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) Expertise and Resource Portal is a free, easy-to-use searchable website featuring available university researchers and related resources at facilities such as university research centers.

Other MCRN Small Business Support Programs

MCRN’s comprehensive list of small business support programs in Michigan can be found here.

University of Michigan IAC’s Free On-Site Energy Assessment

The Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) at the University of Michigan offers FREE on-site energy assessments for small to mid-sized companies in Michigan.  Energy assessments are an excellent tool for identifying ways to save energy and reduce costs in your facility.  Their team of energy experts will work with you to:

  • Evaluate historical energy use in your facility
  • Review operating procedures and examine equipment and systems
  • Make recommendations for improvements that will quickly pay for themselves in reduced energy costs
  • Help you to develop a robust energy management plan or improve your existing plan

IAC uses up-to-date software tools, methods, and equipment (such as infrared cameras and sonic leak detection), to help identify areas for energy efficiency improvements in your facility.

Smaller and medium-sized companies can qualify for a one-day assessment if three of the following criteria are met:

  • Gross sales below $100 million
  • Fewer than 500 employees at the plant
  • Annual utility bills more than $100,000 and less than $2 million
  • No in-house professional staff to perform an assessment

For the Industrial Assessment audits, the Industrial Assessment team conducts a one-day site visit to perform a facility assessment. Before the site visit, the team will examine your plant’s energy and water utility bills to gain an understanding of how much energy is being put to use, and develop a plan for your facility’s assessment. Once on site, the team uses its tools and non-intrusive measurement devices to inspect and record data on the plant’s equipment, environmental conditions and processes in order to identify key efficiency recommendations. At the end of the assessment visit, the team will have a wrap-up session with the company sponsor to discuss the preliminary recommendations and findings with the plant’s staff. Within 60 days, a report detailing the analysis, findings and recommendations is sent to you, and a few months after your receipt of the report, the IAC will follow up for feedback.

If you are interested in having an Industrial Assessment at your facility, please fill click here for more information.