Most startups die because they can’t get customer traction.
A program through the University of Michigan helps reduce that probability by helping companies identify their most likely first customer through a series of action steps and research. This program provides a detailed report of their findings, and also provides business funding, through matching funds, to help implement those steps.
Who can qualify?
The program is primarily meant to assist startups, but also helps companies that are facing startup-like complications when breaking into new markets.
Candidates for the funding must, first and foremost, be based in Michigan. They also must have the potential to scale. Protectable intellectual property is a bonus. Finally, it is important that the business is solving a major problem.
What can it be used for?
Once the company is given the plan provided by the program, the money they’re given should be used to put that plan into action (perform additional research, build a website, etc.)
The amount of funding varies by business, but up to $16,000 (of matching funds) per company.
How it works:
The business, after applying and being approved, is invited to a meeting where every aspect of their business will be reviewed and scrutinized. The meeting can take anywhere from three to five hours. The business will then be given a series of action steps; 13-85 pages of research about their business, target market, marketing scenarios, and many other aspects the business may not have considered.
Local startups that have used it:
Who Do I Contact to Get Started?
Tony Willis at LEAP.