Roundup: NextChallenge Winners, Strata Oncology Trial, MCWT & More

What a long, strange year it’s been, with no shortage of news coming out of the technology sector. As we say goodbye to 2017, here’s a final roundup of innovation news from around the state:

—Detroit cleantech incubator NextEnergy, in partnership with Denso, DTE Energy, and Wells Fargo, has named Ontario’s SmartCone as the winner of the 2017 NextChallenge: Smart Cities competition, which asked innovators across the world to develop hardware and software to address unmet infrastructure needs in urban areas. SmartCone will receive $60,000 in grant funding from Wells Fargo to demonstrate its Internet of Things-powered municipal security and surveillance tools.

In addition, East Lansing-based grid management startup Switched Source received a $40,000 grant, and Techstars Mobility alum Derq, which is also an MIT spinout, earned the $20,000 people’s choice award. According to a press release from NextEnergy, more than 100 participants applied to be in the competition.

—Five healthcare organizations have joined Strata Oncology‘s Precision Oncology Network offering free tumor sequencing to patients with advanced cancer: University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Christiana Care’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente-Northern California, Kettering Health Network, and Ochsner Health System.

Strata Oncology, located in Ann Arbor, partners with cancer centers to collectively advance the development of precision medicines by working to boost clinical trial enrollment. With the addition of these five cancer centers and their affiliate hospitals, routine tumor profiling through the Strata trial will be available at more than 50 hospitals across the country. To learn more about the Strata trial, click here.

—Earlier this month, the Detroit Development Fund, JPMorgan Chase, and the Kellogg Foundation announced that the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in Detroit has attracted new investors, nearly tripling the fund’s size from $6.5 million to over $18 million. The growth is the result of strong demand for capital and a continued effort to help all Detroiters benefit from the Motor City’s comeback, a press release from JPMorgan Chase said. New investors include the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, and the Kresge Foundation.

The fund provides loans ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 and business assistance to Detroit-based entrepreneurs of color. To date, the fund has lent or approved $4.5 million to more than 43 minority small businesses, resulting in over 600 new or preserved jobs, JPMorgan Chase said. Fifty-three percent of the loans went to minority women-owned businesses, and nearly 70 percent have supported small businesses based in neighborhoods outside of the downtown area.

The Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation (MCWT) has received a $25,000 grant from the Ford Fund to help middle school girls become more interested in technology. The money will fund a new program called Girls Solve IT, … Next Page »

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