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Lansing PROTO receives a $50,000 grant from the United States Small Business Administration

Thursday, September 1, 2016   (0 Comments)
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The LEAP program is the only Michigan accelerator to be awarded

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that Lansing PROTO, a subsidiary of LEAP, is the only accelerator in Michigan to receive a $50,000 grant from the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Lansing PROTO is a business startup acceleration program put in place by LEAP to support physical product-based companies specifically, as they move from concept to market. According to the SBA, there are 68 winning accelerator programs across 32 states, which will receive a total of $3.4 million.

The U.S. Small Business Administration said of the program, “Through this competition, the SBA is looking to support the development of accelerators and their support of startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital (i.e., venture capital and other investors).

“Accelerators serve entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors – from manufacturing and tech startups, to farming and biotech – with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community. Through this national competition, we are also empowering accelerators which are led by and support women or other underrepresented groups,” said Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA Administrator. On August 9, LEAP had the opportunity to host Ms. Contreras-Sweet and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow for a special event in Lansing.

Lansing PROTO provides equity funding of $15,000 to two product-based tech startup companies each year to participate in an intensive 8-month long program. Through the program, the two companies have access to many LEAP resources including product development and design consulting, rapid prototyping, business plan development, marketing and branding, legal support, accounting support, continued mentoring and guidance, and access to capital. Upon completion of the program, the participating companies will either be prepared to go to market, already in the market or positioned in the market to be licensed by an existing company.

“LEAP is once again leading innovation in our local economic development efforts. A year ago, the Lansing area had no equity investment fund while many other Michigan communities had not just one, but several. LEAP set up Lansing PROTO, and along with Michigan State University’s Conquer accelerator, both have really taken off with excellent companies already. Through this award, LEAP has received major credibility and resources from the SBA. We are grateful and excited,” said Tony Willis, Director of the New Economy Division at LEAP and Lansing PROTO administrator.

Companies or entrepreneurs interested in applying for future cohorts or learning more about Lansing PROTO, please visit


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