SOUTHFIELD — If you have an idea, the Southfield City Centre can help you make it happen.
On Oct. 4 — National Manufacturing Day — Lawrence Technological University, the city of Southfield and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. officially opened their new manufacturing business accelerator.
The Centrepolis Accelerator, located on LTU’s campus, is a 6,300-square-foot modern space that offers the latest in high-tech prototyping and virtual reality equipment aimed at helping entrepreneurs and designers create their products.
Services at the accelerator include access to office space, co-working space, workshops, mentors, business planning, laboratories, and equipment for digital product design and prototyping. Accelerator clients represent a wide variety of industries, from transportation to gaming, from exercise equipment to defense.
Business Development Manager Rochelle Freeman said the accelerator is part of the city’s SmartZone, which is funded by city taxes, and LTU provides the space.
“People that have ideas, who want to make their product come to life, the accelerator can help with that. It can help with product design and implementation, and they have a team of people that can help reduce the amount of pieces that (it takes) to put the product together,” Freeman said. “They’ll meet with people to help with the development of the product, and there’s a 3D printing machine and some staff there and machinery and virtual reality so they can help actually build a prototype of it.”
Once a prototype is made, Freeman said, the accelerator can also help entrepreneurs obtain funding for their product.
Freeman said around 30 companies are currently using the space.
Executive Director Dan Radomski said the accelerator was originally an incubator program funded by LTU and the city.
“Really, it was to help create a center of innovation for industry to come in and be able to help support their product development and help bring their company’s products to market,” Radomski said. “Many of the clients we work with work closely with Lawrence Tech faculty and students to help develop their product, and now we have this physical space, which is really unique because it provides a co-working space for people to work out of here and be very close to the university.”
Whether someone is with an established company or their idea is just starting out, Radomski said the accelerator can help.
“What we’re about is taking people with products or advanced manufacturing-type technologies and (trying) to help them realize their dream of taking it to market,” he said. “What we do well and better than any other incubator — many of the incubators in the state are focused on software and services — we’re completely focused on physical devices and physical hardware.”
To learn more or to get involved, go to centrepolisaccelerator.com.