The Macomb Innovation Fund announced that it has awarded $300,000 in funding for five early-stage companies from Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties in Michigan.
The Innovation Fund is a $2.7 million effort to stimulate regional Detroit economic development and job growth among promising entrepreneurs and next-stage companies in the area with high-growth potential.
Funding for this Fund is provided by Macomb Community College’s Strategic Fund and JPMorgan Chase, as part of the company’s $100 million commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery and development initiatives.
Companies funded by the Innovation Fund are required to provide internships or learning experiences for Macomb Community College students. So students not only have the opportunity to develop valuable workplace skills, but will also gain first-hand exposure to entrepreneurship.
The five latest companies awarded funding through the Innovation Fund are:
Banza – Detroit-based Banza produces pasta from chickpeas that provides 25 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber per serving with half of the net carbohydrates found in regular pasta. The company has been awarded $100,000 through the Innovation Fund.
Lighthouse Molding – Sterling Heights-based Lighthouse Molding has developed a low-pressure overmolding technology that encapsulates and protects electronic assemblies from water, humidity, shock, vibration, thermal variation, dust and dirt. The company has been awarded $100,000 through the Innovation Fund.
PHASIQ – Ann Arbor-based PHASIQ has designed a method of diagnostic testing for a variety of proteins in a single patient sample, providing advantages over the current process of testing for proteins one at a time. The company has been awarded $50,000 through the Innovation Fund.
Pro:Up – Detroit-based Pro:Up is an online marketplace that matches students to extracurricular opportunities related to their educational and career objectives. The company has been awarded $25,000 through the Innovation Fund.
Sterilogy – Bloomfield Hills-based Sterilogy has developed a hand sanitizer system with an electronic compliance system for health care workers. It not only records compliance with hygiene protocols, but also prompts compliance if the healthcare worker does not follow the protocols. The company has been awarded $25,000 through the Innovation Fund.
These five companies were selected from a field of 27 qualified applicants. Each went through a two-stage process, pitching first to a screening committee. Final award recommendations out of the companies that made it through the screening round were then made by a selection committee comprised of area professionals.
This is the second round of funding awarded by the Innovation Fund, following an earlier $275,000 round in July.
Dr. James Jacobs, president, Macomb Community College, said in a release that “The Innovation Fund is an important new way in which the college can directly support economic development while providing a different type of learning experience for our students.”
Chauncy Lennon, Head of Workforce Initiatives, JPMorgan Chase, noted that stronger small businesses drive job creation and economic growth. “We are proud to be a part of the Detroit-area’s resurgence by supporting the entrepreneurs who are fueling its recovery,” added Lennon.