Launched in 2011 with a $1.8 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Corporate Relations Network is the nation’s first statewide university business engagement network.
Partner institutions include the University of Michigan, which serves as the project lead, and Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Michigan Technological University, Western Michigan University, and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
To date, 47 companies have used the network and its programmatic resources, including Horner Flooring, a Houghton-based company that makes hardwood and synthetic flooring for the NBA, NCAA, and the Olympic Games. Through the MCRN’s small company internship program— a matching funds program to assist companies in hiring interns— the company brought on a marketing student from nearby Michigan Technological University. The internship was so successful that the company created a full time position for the student. To date, more than 38 internships have been created around the state as a result of the internship program.
MCRN outreach programs:
- The Small Company Innovation Program offers matching funds for company-specific research projects with MCRN partner universities.
- The Small Company Internship Award Program provides matching funds for students to work as summer interns or in cooperative positions with corporate partners in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
- The Instant Innovation Program pairs Michigan companies with faculty experts from MCRN universities for day-long brainstorming sessions focused on technology and process issues.