High-tech manufacturing accelerator receives $1M grant from the Wilson Foundation

What’s happening: Lawrence Technological University and its home city of Southfield recently celebrated a $1 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation in support of their Centropolis Accelerator, a manufacturing small business accelerator created in partnership between LTU and the city’s Business & Economic Development Department. 

Why it’s important: The $1 million grant will provide capital for the Centropolis Accelerator’s C³ Evergreen Investment Fund. The fund provides non-equity, zero-interest investments to southeast Michigan companies in the fields of advanced manufacturing, manufacturing technology, Industry 4.0 technologies, cleantech, recycling, and COVID response companies. There is also a focus on products that benefit an aging population and those with disabilities.

The space itself: The Centropolis Accelerator is located on LTU’s Southfield campus and features 6,000 sq. ft. of coworking space and a high-tech product prototyping lab, complete with 3D printers, metalworking, and virtual and augmented reality equipment.

A different kind of business accelerator: While many small business accelerators focus on developing high-tech software companies, the Centropolis Accelerator focuses on developing high-tech hardware and manufacturing companies. 

More investments, more Michigan: “The demand for our services has grown significantly. This funding will help support our ability to scale and make direct investments in more Southeast Michigan hardware, physical product clients in commercializing and making their products right here in Michigan,” says Dan Radomski, executive director of the Centrepolis Accelerator.

“The economic impact from this effort cannot be overlooked, as we help our hardware clients grow we are also sending significant business to the local supply chain that is directly helping with their design, engineering, prototyping, testing and manufacturing.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.