A business incubator support project in Sterling Heights called Velocity is offering space, guidance and other services to startups in the fields of defense, homeland security and advanced manufacturing.
Velocity and several other organizations are located in a renovated and technologically updated 35,000-square-foot building that was formerly a Ford Motor Co. child care center. It's located on 18 Mile Road between Van Dyke and Mound Roads. Van Dyke lies in a state SmartZone.
Velocity, which launched last week, is a collaboration between the city of Sterling Heights, Macomb County and the Macomb-OU Business INCubator.
It offers customized leased space to start-ups that "have their business plan, their product, and they're looking for assistance and guidance to take it to that next step," says Denice Gerstenberg, business development manager for Sterling Heights. "They will grow up, move out of the incubator and into the community to create jobs."
Macomb County, which has been dubbed the Arsenal of Democracy for its work in defense, has a long history and background in all three industries targeted by Velocity.
"This corridor has a strong defense presence…Macomb County gets approximately six percent of all defense contracts," Gerstenberg points out. It goes to show that the money is there for start-ups with useful ideas. "Homeland security is an emerging industry and obviously with all the [automakers], Chrysler and Ford being here, it's a strong manufacturing corridor as well."
Other building occupants include the Macomb-OU INCubator, the Pawley Lean Institute from OU, and OU's Center for Robotics and Unmanned Intelligent Systems.
There also are two start-up tenants moving along the business development path that's opened to 20-25 other start-ups.
Source: Denice Gerstenberg, business development manager, city of Sterling Heights
Writer: Kim North Shine