JumpStart, NEI Plan New High Tech Accelerator in Detroit
JumpStart Inc., a Cleveland-based nonprofit focused on entrepreneurship and economic development, will team with the New Economy Initiative (NEI) to open a new high-tech accelerator in Detroit, says NEI executive director David Egner. Egner (an Xconomist) says a variety of state and regional investors will fund the accelerator and he expects it to have an annual operating budget of between $1.5 million and $3 million.
Egner says the accelerator, which will likely open this fall inside TechTown, will join a field of local accelerators and incubators that some feel is already too crowded given the relatively small geographic area they cover in Southeast Michigan. But Egner says that although accelerators like TechTown and Ann Arbor SPARK nurture high-tech startups, they aren’t solely devoted to them. “We don’t have a designated organization doing marketing to increase deal flow,” he says. “There currently isn’t capacity to go out and find new deals. We’ll have a $5 million fund with the ability to move $250,000 per deal.”
What Detroit has that still hasn’t been fully capitalized upon, Egner argues, is an innovation corridor that stretches from Dan Gilbert’s buildings downtown to Henry Ford Hospital in New Center. “That three and a half miles could be one of the most innovative districts in the country, and we’ll help to accelerate that corridor,” he says, adding that innovation is already flourishing in places like Wayne State, the Detroit Medical Center, Next Energy, Bizdom, D:Hive, Sustainable Water Works, the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, Inforum, and all the startups housed in the Madison Building. The NEI is itself a $100 million initiative formed in 2008 to increase economic activity in … Next Page »