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LTU's Centrepolis Accelerator part of nation's first Industry 4.0 investment fund

Release Date: February 5, 2020

Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator will provide business acceleration services to a new program launched by Automation Alley—an “Industry 4.0 Accelerator,” a national first, designed to help small and medium-sized manufacturing companies navigate an increasingly technologically sophisticated marketplace.

The name of the new accelerator refers to the concept of Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution—the convergence of digital and physical technologies, including advances such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, and others that are now sweeping manufacturing.

The Industry 4.0 Accelerator is an investment fund provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Currently, $1.3 million is available for early stage companies as well as established firms looking to commercialize products, services, and technologies in the Industry 4.0 sector.

The Centrepolis Accelerator, as well as another business accelerator in Jackson called the Lean Rocket Lab, will provide business assistance, product development, demonstration opportunities, and other services to companies, through funding from the Industry 4.0 Accelerator.

“Industry 4.0 is challenging the way businesses operate around the globe,” Automation Alley CEO Tom Kelly said. “It’s no longer a question of whether your company will be affected by the digital transformation, but when.”

Companies involved in the program will receive direct investment and business services to help spur innovation, commercialization and growth. Clients of the program will be required to repay the funding they receive from the program, either as a loan or as equity in their companies.

“There is simply no better location for an Industry 4.0 Accelerator than in the heart of the world’s most important advanced manufacturing market—Michigan,” said Dan Radomski, executive director of LTU’s Centrepolis Accelerator. “What makes this program unique is that it will globally crowdsource the best in Industry 4.0 technologies, supporting both early-stage and established firms with unique advanced manufacturing innovations, connecting them to Michigan manufacturing firms to initiate pilot demonstrations of their technology. This will support both the tech companies’ growth as well as operational efficiencies of manufacturers in our state. Lawrence Tech will bring additional value by supporting engineering, proof of concept, and prototyping work for companies going through the program.”

Services will be customized to meet the needs of each participating company, including potential pilot and demonstration project funding support with customers and strategic partners, potential connections to product development partnerships with customers and strategic partners, individualized training and mentorship, company growth assessments, technical and business milestone progress planning, strategic plan development, assessing management team and talent needs, investment and fundraising strategy support, potential connections to investors and capital sources, shared workspace opportunities and more.
  
Said Nadia Abunasser, federal and development projects director for the MEDC: “The addition of this program will ensure high-tech manufacturing startups across Michigan have access to the resources they need to take their projects from ideation to commercialization, solidifying Michigan as a leader in entrepreneurship and innovation while continuing to build on our manufacturing heritage.”
 
For more information or to apply, contact John Bedz, Automation Alley’s special programs manager, at bedzj@automationalley.com.
 
Automation Alley is Michigan's Industry 4.0 knowledge center, with a global outlook and a regional focus. Our programs give companies a competitive advantage by helping them along every step of their digital transformation journey. We obsess over disruptive technologies like AI, the Internet of Things and automation, and work hard to make these complex concepts easier for companies to understand and implement. As a nonprofit technology and manufacturing business association, we connect industry, academia and government to fuel Michigan's economy and accelerate innovation.

Lean Rocket lab is a business incubator and member of the state-wide MEDC SmartZone Business Incubator network through an agreement with the Enterprise Group of Jackson County and the Blackman Township SmartZone. It offers entrepreneurial services and provides business validation, incubation and accelerator programming to manufacturing and technology focused startups Visit leanrocketlab.info.

 The Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is accelerating the growth of Southeast Michigan’s advanced manufacturing, innovative hardware entrepreneurs and small manufacturers by providing access to funding, experts and key business and product development resources. Visit centrepolisaccelerator.com.

MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel. For more on MEDC’s entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org/entrepreneurship.

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