New Automation Alley Program to Help Entrepreneurs with Manufacturing

By Amanda Lewan on December 8th, 2014 / Comments

Manufacturing is our state’s sweet spot, but as a region are entrepreneurs able to advance quickly with Michigan made products?

We’ve heard from past entrepreneurs on the difficulty of producing a non-automotive product in state and some of the strategies they’ve taken to succeed (see Startup Manufacturing in an Automotive World.) How can we make it easier and more likely for startups to manufacture new products here?

Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, announced today the launch of a new program to help entrepreneurs. The program has a specific emphasis on advanced manufacturing startups in the idea stage or later in Southeast Michigan.

With help from Automation Alley’s experts entrepreneurs who participate will be guided through a customized seven-step process that starts with the conception of their technology and lead to commercialization. The new program called the 7Cs Program which will also include coaching and investment of resources and capital from Automation Alley, an important mix of support.

“The Automation Alley 7Cs program is the first of its kind in Michigan. We believe it’s going to be transformational in terms of its impact on the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Southeast Michigan,” said Tom Kelly, Automation Alley director of entrepreneurship.

The program includes a feature called the 7Cs First Match, a partnership with more than 20 local chief innovation officers at major automotive and manufacturing suppliers to present technologies developed by 7Cs participants. This helps suppliers gain access to innovations, and gives entrepreneurs exposure to potential growth opportunities.

“The power of the 7Cs program is that you don’t have to navigate the ocean of potential customers yourself. We are with you, actively developing strategic matches to customers and partners and delivering tangible, measurable value every step of the way,” said Kelly.

Those who participate in the program can receive a $25,000 directed investment from Automation Alley. Companies accepted into the program are required to repay the $25,000 at the end of two years. There is also an opportunity for each of the accepted companies to receive up to an additional $100,000 in investment from the Automation Alley Pre-Seed Fund after they successfully complete the program.

The Automation Alley 7Cs program is funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

For more information on the Automation Alley 7Cs program, or to apply, contact Automation Alley at 800-427-5100 or

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.