Business accelerator launched for small and mid-size advanced manufacturing companies

The fourth industrial revolution is coming. And thanks to a $2.5 million investment fund made possible through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan is poised to get a leg up on the competition.

In what’s being touted as the first of its kind in the U.S., Troy-based technology and business association Automation Alley has announced the creation of the Industry 4.0 Accelerator program.

With support services from Lean Rocket Lab and Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator, the Industry 4.0 Accelerator program will start with $1.3 million set aside for small and mid-sized technology and manufacturing businesses. The money will help said businesses commercialize products, services, and technologies.

"Industry 4.0 is challenging the way businesses operates around the globe. It’s no longer a question of whether your company will be affected by the digital transformation but when," says Tom Kelly, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley.

"We are pleased to partner with Lean Rocket Lab and LTU’s Centrepolis on the Industry 4.0 Accelerator program and are looking forward to investing in innovative companies and Michigan’s future."

The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is where technology and manufacturing converge, incorporating any number of technologies, including 3D printing, robotics, A.I., and more.

Businesses accepted into the program will receive direct investment and business coaching services. This could include everything from investment and fundraising strategy support to shared workspace opportunities, from pilot and demonstration project funding support to individualized training and mentorship.

"The attraction, development and deployment of the best technologies will help these companies succeed and simultaneously ensure Michigan's continued role as the epicenter of advanced manufacturing," says Brandon Marken, founder and CEO of Lean Rocket Lab.

Visit Automation Alley online for more information on how to apply to the Industry 4.0 Accelerator program.

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