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Lawrence Tech wins federal, Chamber grants to improve support for entrepreneurs

Release Date: July 28, 2009

Southfield, Mich. - Lawrence Technological University has won a $70,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the federal Department of Commerce to study and seek to improve entrepreneurship, innovation, and product development in southeast Michigan. 

The grant will support a $146,000 feasibility study to be led by faculty and administrators at Lawrence Tech. The Detroit Regional Chamber provided a $10,000 cash match towards the grant, and the remaining budget funds are from Lawrence Tech and service providers.

The study will determine the feasibility of creating a regional Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship that would be a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurial development in a region that has experienced high levels of unemployment, underemployment and out-migration.

The study will make recommendations to EDA within a year on steps to improve the region's entrepreneurial infrastructure. It will focus on creating opportunities for displaced automotive workers and engineering, science and business professionals

The study will identify gaps in existing innovation and entrepreneurial programs in southeast Michigan and assess the potential support for a center that would provide solutions. Surveys, interviews, focus groups, facilitated discussions, online research, periodical reviews, seminars and forums will be used for gathering information.

The grant was applauded by U. S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., who represents the congressional district where Lawrence Tech is located.

"An important component to ongoing efforts to jumpstart Michigan's economy is connecting Michigan's skilled workers with new opportunities and supporting efforts to diversify our economy and build on our strengths," Levin said. "I am very proud to see Lawrence Tech stepping up to the plate again and meeting a need in the community - in this case, examining how the engineering, scientific and technological talent of our region can create the jobs of the future."

The project director is Mark Brucki, executive director of economic development and government relations at Lawrence Tech. The research director is Robert Inskeep, executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Management at Lawrence Tech, and the research manager is Matthew Cole, director of the psychology program at Lawrence Tech.

"The EDA grant allows us to identify unique opportunities to provide an environment and resources for product creation, innovation and job creation that are not being offered elsewhere in the state, the Great Lakes region or the nation," Brucki said. "We are fortunate to have an alliance with the Detroit Regional Chamber to help generate actionable outcomes from this EDA grant."

Lawrence Technological University,, offers nearly 100 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech's 102-acre campus is in Southfield, and programs are also offered in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey and Traverse City. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.