Manufacturing Day, a national day of recognition for the past, present, and future of manufacturing, was an appropriate moment in time for the grand opening celebration of the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University. With the morning of Friday, Oct. 4, dedicated to the introduction of the 6,300-square foot, state-of-the-art space to dignitaries and the afternoon open to the public, the Centrepolis Accelerator welcomed hundreds of visitors on its first official day of operation.
“We had a great turnout with startups, small businesses, large companies, and economic development organizations and other incubators and accelerators in attendance,” says Dan Radomski, director of the Centrepolis Accelerator. Individuals from state, local, and regional entities were among the more than 400 people who attended the event.
Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver joined LTU President Virinder Moudgil, Oakland County Executive David Coulter, U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield), Josh Hundt, executive vice president and chief business development officer at the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Mark Brucki, director of corporate and community partnerships at LTU, Fred Zorn, Southfield City Administrator, Rochelle Freeman, business and economic development director for the City of Southfield, and others, in recognizing the value of the Centrepolis Accelerator at the event.
Celebrating the Centrepolis Accelerator’s mission to support entrepreneurs and businesses that manufacture physical products, Lawrence focused on the new face of product development. “The days of dark, dirty buildings, the days of not getting respect for working with your hands, those days are over, and we need to make sure we need to highlight all the amazing opportunities in manufacturing. There is so much technology tied to manufacturing now,” said Lawrence, according to a release from LTU.
Top industry support in the product manufacturing and development process for entrepreneurs and businesses is what sets the Centrepolis Accelerator apart from other coworking spaces, even those with active makerspaces, says Radomski.
“It’s easy to say [the Centrepolis Accelerator] is just another coworking space with some cool lab tools and that can do some prototyping. There are plenty of those types of makerspaces in town.
What isn’t so easy to pick up is that what we do here is a whole unique program to help companies and entrepreneurs along every stage of product development,” he says.
A physical space with state-of-the-art prototyping equipment, including artificial reality and virtual reality, is made all the more valuable with talent and industry experience to support clients in all their product development and marketing needs.
“We have the best and brightest minds to work with clients to get it right,” says Radomski. “Entrepreneurs can make a lot of costly mistakes and spend a lot of money and time unless they talk to experts first.” The Centrepolis Accelerator has a wealth of expertise, especially within the LTU alumni community, to work with companies to help clarify how to develop their products from prototyping to engineering to design, he says. “Ultimately the companies that go through our programs are more successful than those that don’t. We haven’t had a company fail yet, and many wouldn’t have their products to market without our support.”
On hand to share their experiences were early Centrepolis Accelerator clients Wareologie, manufacturers of magnetic buttons that allow people with dexterity limitations to dress independently; Gaddis Gaming, creator of electronic gaming tables for tabletop games; Maxfit, developers of a portable workout device; and Pingree Detroit, makers of fine leather goods, according to the LTU release.
“We have always been pleased to have the business development and programming resources and expertise of the Centrepolis Accelerator here in the Southfield City Centre and are really just thrilled that they now have a strong physical presence to complement all the services they provide,” says Freeman. “The focus on manufacturing really blends well with the district’s well-established high-tech businesses, and we hope that Centrepolis Accelerator clients consider setting up their businesses permanently in the City Centre.”
Centrepolis Accelerator partners include the City of Southfield, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Michigan Energy Fund, and the New Economy Initiative.
Learn more about the Centrepolis Accelerator at http://www.centrepolisaccelerator.com/