Michigan Roundup: Automation Alley, MSU, U-M, Xuriden & More

Here’s a look at innovation news from around Michigan:

Automation Alley, the Troy-based technology and business organization, has opened its 7Cs program—which helps early-stage companies connect to their first customers—to mid-stage companies. Any tech- or manufacturing-based company with between five and 100 employees in need of sales training or team building is eligible for the 7Cs Second Stage accelerator program. Participants will get consulting from Icube, a firm that assists with business intelligence and ideation; sales training; and a professionally produced sales video.

Automation Alley also held its annual awards gala on Friday, and announced this year’s winners. Among the honorees were Halley Orthopedics (startup of the year), Loc Performance Products (advanced manufacturer of the year), and Tata Technologies (technology company of the year).

—Michigan State University is taking ‘Go Green’ to a new level: ExxonMobil will contribute $1 million to expand MSU research into algae-based fuels. The overall goal of the partnership is to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis in microalgae to produce biofuels and bioproducts. According to a press release, past research has shown that algae photosynthesis can be highly efficient under optimal conditions in the laboratory; the trick, however, seems to be improving photosynthesis in production environments.

The MSU Innovation Center says ExxonMobil’s long-term goal is to process algae bio-oils in its refineries to supplement crude oil as the raw material to manufacture gasoline, diesel, aviation fuels, and marine fuels. In addition to fuels, the company is also examining potential applications for other products, such as chemicals and lubricants.

—Last week, Governor Rick Snyder and Bill Ford, chairman of the Ford Motor Company, traveled to Silicon Valley to tout the Michigan Ambassador Program, where executives met with local leaders that have Michigan ties to share information about growth opportunities in the state’s emerging mobility industry. Mike Miller from Google’s Ann Arbor office and Business Leaders for Michigan’s Doug Rothwell were also on hand for the trip.

—The University of Michigan will lead a national consortium to identify emerging advanced manufacturing technologies in order to … Next Page »

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