Thursday, April 16, 2009

Washtenaw County Receives $250,000 State Grant for Spark East, As Reported by © MMIX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved.

Washtenaw County, in partnership with Eastern Michigan University and Ann Arbor Spark, has been selected by the Michigan Strategic Fund to receive an award of $250,000 in grant funding through MEDC and the state of Michigan. The grant will support Spark East, the third business incubator in Spark's Regional Incubator Network; located at 215 W. Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti, Spark East offers affordable office space and critical start-up services to new businesses.

In addition to the state grant, Spark East received support from many local partners, including Eastern Michigan University, the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Centers, the Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce, Washtenaw County, City of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, Superior Township, The B-Side, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and the Eastern Leaders Group.

All of these organizations are providing financial and other support for initial and ongoing operations. The grant funding will be used toward operational expenses for the incubator.
"Our intention is for Spark East to be a catalyst for business and community growth in eastern Washtenaw County," said Rolland Sizemore Jr., chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. "We've supported the establishment of the incubator as a very direct way to assist innovative companies at their earliest stage of formation and development."

Two conference rooms and utilities are included in an entrepreneur's SPARK East lease, ranging from one-month to one-year commitments. Additional resources are VoIP telephone system, T-1 Internet connections as well as use of copiers, fax machines, and cleaning services.

"The Eastern Leaders Group, a group of elected officials, business and academic leaders have been instrumental in developing a vision for the acceleration of economic development on the east side of the county," said Ronnie Peterson, Washtenaw County Commissioner. "The Spark East incubator is a first and important step in laying the groundwork for strategic local development."

Currently, LaVision, Sensei Change Associates, Brainstorm Creative and Smart Dining occupy Spark East. Lease applications for Spark East are available at For a tour of Spark East, contact Shamar Herron at or (734) 372-4070.

The Ann Arbor Spark Regional Incubator Network is comprised of two business and one wet lab incubator. The incubators provide physical space, essential business services and business development guidance -- at lease rates that are affordable for start-up companies. The Ann Arbor Spark Regional Incubator Network includes Spark Central Incubator located in Ann Arbor, Spark East Incubator located in Ypsilanti, and The Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center in Plymouth.

As Reported by © MMIX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved.

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