Automation Alley offers fellowships to college grads to work for entrepreneurs
Automation Alley is looking to match entrepreneurs with promising college graduates.
The organization plans to award an Adams Entrepreneurial Fellowship to four recent college graduates or students close to graduation.
The winners will be placed with a startup company or startup wing of an established company, paid $60,000 annually and mentored.
"Generally, we're looking to target the younger, rapid-growth startup companies," said Terry Cross the director of the program.
Automation Alley is looking for small, growing companies that have expanding revenue and strong management in place. It already has two companies lined up for the fellows but would not disclose the companies.
The areas of focus are health care and life sciences, advanced automotive, manufacturing and materials, homeland security, alternative energy and information technology, mostly sectors targeted by the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund.
"Those are the areas, for better or worse, that the state decided it wants to concentrate its economic development on," Cross said.
TechTown, Macomb-OU INCubator and Ann Arbor Spark are a few of the local incubators Cross and his team have their eyes on. Established businesses with upward motion, like Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp., or entrepreneurial departments of larger companies will be considered too.
Cross will help mentor the entrepreneurs by taking one of them to breakfast every week, giving them a book to read each month, and asking them to keep a list of questions during their time with the companies.
"It's not real formal, but it's effective," he said.
Automation Alley plans to close the application process by the end of the month, review the applications during the first two weeks of June and have the fellows starting by the end of June or the beginning of July.
The Adams Entrepreneur Fellowship was previously run from various surrounding universities and colleges, independent of each other, before it was consolidated under Cross and Automation Alley.
Past fellows who made impacts in the entrepreneurial business world after completing the fellowship include Alain Piette, president of Spaceform Welding Solutions Inc., and Antonio Luck, who helped launch Monarch Antenna Inc., a spin-off from Delphi Technologies.
Previous applicants had to be students or recent graduates of the corresponding university. Now the process is open to all schools. Recent college graduates, particularly MBA grads, are preferred.
Cross, who returned to Michigan after working in Silicon Valley, said entrepreneurship in Southeast Michigan has exploded during the last 12 to 18 months.
"There is probably five times the number of startups as three, four years ago," he said.