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