LANSING — A business accelerator started by regional economic development organization Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Lansing PROTO, a business startup acceleration program founded and administered by LEAP, was the only accelerator in Michigan to get funds from the SBA's Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, according to a statement.
A total of 68 business accelerator programs in 32 states received a combined $3.4 million, according to the statement released by LEAP.
“LEAP is once again leading innovation in our local economic development efforts," Tony Willis, director of the New Economy Division at LEAP and Lansing PROTO administrator, said in a statement. "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.”
Lansing PROTO aims to provide equity funding of $15,000 to two product-based tech startups each year and assist those companies during an eight-month program.
“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," Maria Contreras-Sweet, an SBA administrator, said in a statement. "Through this national competition, we are also empowering accelerators which are led by and support women or other underrepresented groups.”