Accelerate Michigan

Accelerating Michigan’s Economic Transformation Into a “Top Ten” State

About Us

Individually We Are Strong, But Together We Can Transform Our State

The mission of Accelerate Michigan℠ is to create a distinctive strategic alliance between Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) and Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC). By uniting research universities and business leaders, Accelerate Michigan℠ aims to place Michigan among the “Top Ten” states for accelerating economic transformation and cultivating entrepreneurism based on mutually beneficial values, investments and activities. According to the Michigan Turnaround Plan, Michigan has lagged the nation in job and economic growth for the past generation; the alliance will strive to accelerate Michigan back to the top.

Accelerate Michigan℠ will be managed by existing BLM and URC staff through a strategic alliance.

Innovation In Michigan

A State Of Innovation

Michigan has always been an innovator. And it will be innovation that helps us accelerate through our next economic transformation. Michigan is at or above its peers in intellectual property development:

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2013 University Research Corridor Economic Impact Study

This study documents the impact the URC universities have in Michigan as well as their performance converting innovation into economic impact.

2014 Michigan Economic Competitiveness Benchmarking Report

This report documents Michigan's competitiveness relative to top-performing states on job and economic growth, including innovation & entrepreneurism factors.

Michigan's Innovation Analysis & Strategy

2010 Business Leaders For Michigan University-Industry Partnership Benchmarking Analysis

These graphs summarize Michigan's innovations compared to other states. Following these graphs is our model for economic transformation.

This analysis, conducted by McKinsey & Company, documents how Michigan performs relative to other innovation centers in the U.S. for converting innovation into economic growth.

Our Work

Together, These 3 Pillars Of Work Can Help Accelerate Economic Growth

In order to support a new and stronger economy for our state, Accelerate Michigan℠ constructed three pillars to build upon. The first pillar is based on changing our state’s culture, the second is based on increasing the availability of capital and the third is based on increasing collaboration. Each pillar is composed of three major actions. Together, these pillars will be the drivers of economic growth.

Pillar 1:
Championing Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Pillar 2:
Growing Capacity To Scale Ideas

Pillar 3:
Catalyzing Clusters Of Innovations


1) Launch statewide entrepreneurship competitions

  • One of nation’s largest business plan competitions
  • Nine sectors – prizes up to $500,000
  • Funding from foundations, BLM & URC
  • Opportunity to connect business and ideas

2) Promote innovation matchmaking

  • Survey BLM companies to identify technology and research needs
  • “Pull” best URC research that matches needs
  • Lead to full-time Business Services Exchange
  • Sponsor ongoing series of Technology Showcase programs

3) Develop an entrepreneurship education strategy

  • Identify gaps and needs
  • Benchmark best practices
  • Design strategy


1) Create a University Commercialization Fund (Early Stage)

  • A sustainable $3.0 million annual fund designed to improve Michigan’s very low rankings for early stage capital (pre-seed stage)

2) Establish Venture Capital

  • Designed to take Michigan from #20 to #10 in venture capital activity through 3:1 leverage ratio of invested capital
  • This fund will be used to attract VC talent

3) Develop an Angel Investment Strategy

Based on input from Michigan Angels and benchmarking best practices, a strategy will be developed to better connect angel investors with entrepreneurs


1) Align efforts to grow high-potential Michigan clusters of innovation

  • High-potential clusters will be based on where the following intersect:
    • Federal R&D spending plans
    • Major innovation trends
    • BLM needs
    • Michigan strengths
    • URC R&D strengths

2) Increase advocacy for federal cluster investments

  • Primary focus will be on advocating for federal investments to accelerate the growth of innovation clusters

3) Form Michigan Science & Innovation Council

  • Composed of URC and BLM R&D VPs
  • Identify trends and likely impact on Michigan
  • Identify opportunities for economic growth

A Michigan-based fund of funds that supports the growth of venture capital in Michigan while serving as a bridge between Michigan’s emerging innovation company community and its strong industrial and commercial base.

An international business competition designed to bring together later stage entrepreneurial companies with local, national and international investors.

Timeline Of The Alliance's Work
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