Central Michigan University Research Corporation President & CEO Erin Strang spoke to the Club about the impact of CMURC in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
"When I first got into this industry I had to explain to people we weren't working with chickens. We're talking about incubating businesses." CMURC works with people who have an idea or concept of a business but have no idea where to get started. "We are here to bring businesses together, to make connections."
CMURC is a 501c(3) organization. They are separate from the University but very closely connected. In the early 2000 time frame, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation began to connect universities with communities to move intellectual talent within the area. That led to the creation of prosperity zones throughout the state. CMURC covers area five.
Erin talked about the success of the program citing a number of statistics and point out some of the companies and products that have grown out of the program. She described the "High and Tight" project in some detail. Thought up by a local football coach, the product is a sensor equipped football that produces an audible tone when the quarterback hold and throws the ball properly. "I could tell a player how to do it, but I had no feedback that it was being done right." The tones give immediate and accurate feedback to both coach and player.
Several initiatives were described including the "Passport Program" which works in coordination with an area's local Chamber of Commerce. CMURC also has a 300-acre "smart zone" district on the south side of the CMU campus. Similar areas are coming with a 35-acre site at Uptown Bay City and the SVRC Marketplace in downtown Saginaw.
Erin showed three short YouTube promotional videos.
More information, and links to the videos can be found on the CMURC web site at cmurc.com