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Updated 10:00 AM February 9, 2009

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University reaches out to small businesses with new program

The University and the College of Engineering (CoE) are working together to engage local small businesses and help them establish research partnerships with faculty and students.

On Feb. 11, at the MPowered Career Fair for small businesses, CoE and the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) will announce a pilot Small Company Innovation Program.

The Innovation Program gives financial incentives to small businesses in Michigan to collaborate with the University on research projects. In the first year of the program, CoE and OVPR will match $30,000 of support and waive indirect costs for five projects.

"We expect the total support from the company and the University for each of the five projects to allow a faculty member to support one graduate student research assistant for one year," says Amy Klinke, assistant director of Small Business Development Initiatives at the Center for Entrepreneurship. Klinke's post in itself, which was created in October, is another part of CoE's push to engage small businesses.

"The University is reaching out to the small business community in a substantial way. I'm excited by the push to develop creative mechanisms to jumpstart mutually beneficial engagements" says Daryl Weinert, executive director of the Business Engagement Center.

The career fair is an opportunity for small, high-growth companies from across the region to come to campus to develop relationships with students.

"The fair is designed to be more than an opportunity for University talent to meet small companies," Klinke says. "It is also an opportunity to show students about the incredible opportunities in working with small companies and in the state of Michigan."

Companies participating include: Adaptive Materials Inc., Bizdom U, Digerati, Eldon Water, Fruxtrol Inc.,, Janeeva Inc., International Chambers Group Inc, Media Genesis, Menlo Innovations LLC, Frontier Markets, Metric-X, Michigan Aerospace/WindSight, Mobatech, Momentum, Monarch Antenna Inc., Pacific Industrial Development Corp., Quantum Signal LLC, Sargon Partners, Sircon Corp., The Linux Box Corp., Twisthink, Virtual EM Inc., Voorhorst Consulting Group LLC, Zattoo and others.

The career fair is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in Pierpont Commons and the Duderstadt Center on North Campus. A presentation about the Small Company Innovation Program will be from 4-5 p.m. at a reception in the Pierpont Commons. For more information about the innovation program go to

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