Roundup: Ann Arbor SPARK Expands, U-M Reports Record Number of Inventions

It’s been a busy few weeks in Southeast Michigan’s innovation community. Here is a roundup of news from around the area:

Ann Arbor SPARK, which assists tech startups with incubation and capital, is expanding its spaces in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to accommodate the growing number of entrepreneurs seeking its services. SPARK Central, in downtown Ann Arbor, will add 2,500 square feet to its existing facility. SPARK East, in Ypsilanti, will convert one of its large conference rooms into a co-working facility.

At SPARK Central, the expansion is designed for “stage two” entrepreneurs who are preparing to graduate from the incubator and need space for four or more employees. The space at SPARK East is meant to meet growing demand from new tenants.

—InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum in St. Louis, MO, has put out a call for applications for its March forum. High-growth startups from Michigan and throughout the Midwest that are seeking venture capital are encouraged to submit their applications for a chance to present their business plans to an audience of investors. For more details, click here. The deadline is Nov. 15.

—University of Michigan inventors reported 421 new inventions in FY2013, a new record for the university. It also reported new 108 technology licenses. Also breaking a record was the number of patents issued to the university last year: 128, up from 101 in FY2012. Licensing revenues increased from $13.8 million to $14.4 million, providing funds to reinvest in research and innovation.

Thanks to the guidance and resources of the Office of Technology Transfer’s Venture Center, nine new startup ventures were launched during the past fiscal year. The Venture Center, a one-stop hub for entrepreneurs and investors looking for startup opportunities based on U-M research, has launched 98 new companies in the last 10 years—an average of one every five weeks.

Also, U-M announced it is granting scientists an $8 million grant to support research on the relationship between religion, spirituality, and health. The Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the U-M School of Public Health will conduct a landmark spirituality and health survey in an attempt to determine the cause and effect between religion and health.

—Six southwest Michigan counties have officially joined together in an effort to attract business to the region. Thanks to a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, and Washtenaw counties will market the Greater Ann Arbor Region and promote its unique assets in life sciences, manufacturing, and IT to company executives and site selectors considering new business locations. Outreach efforts will also promote the region’s colleges and universities. Click here to check out the new website detailing the collaborative efforts.

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