Resource Guide - Startup and Small Business Resources

If you have an innovative idea and want to start or grow your small business, there are several organizations that can help you. Here is information on some organizations, events and funding or grant opportunities.

Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) 

The Michigan SBDC assists entrepreneurs and business owners in launching, growing, transitioning and innovating their companies. The center has 11 regional offices and over 20 satellite offices to provide personalized consulting, training and research assistance. Other services include business plan development, market research, capital raising, workshops, technology commercialization, financial management, export strategy, strategic planning, and human resources and organizational development. Visit for more information.

Federal Certifications for Disadvantaged Small Businesses

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has several programs to help certain small businesses win their fair share of federal contracts. Through these programs qualified businesses are able to receive business mentoring and education to learn how federal contracting works, compete for exclusive set-aside and sole-source contracts, and partner with established contractors to win contracts. The SBA can help businesses obtain the necessary certifications to participate in these programs. Certifications include: Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB); Service-disabled Veteran Owned Small Business; 8(a) certification for economically, socially and geographically disadvantaged companies; and HUBZone certification for companies located in historically underutilized business zones. Visit for more information.

VetBiz Central

VetBiz Central is a Michigan-based Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC). It assists veterans, active duty, Guard, and Reserve members in forming and expanding their businesses through entrepreneurial training, education, mentoring, counseling, and procurement resources. Visit for more information.


The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) created the PlanetM initiative to connect innovators with the state’s mobility ecosystem. It is a partnership comprised of mobility organizations, communities, educational institutions, research and development organizations, and government agencies that are working together to develop and deploy cutting edge mobility technologies. PlanetM offers two types of grants to mobility companies: the Testing Grant allows for testing technologies at Michigan’s state-of-the-art testing facilities, and the Pilot Grant allows global to deploy their technologies in the state. Visit for more information.

Air Force Pitch Days

The Air Force recognizes that many mind-blowing ideas are being birthed in U.S. startup companies. In order to capture these ideas and inspire creativity toward national security challenges, the Air Force SBIR/STTR program hosts Pitch Day events for startups and small businesses. Pitch Days are a combination of product expo and reality series where the most promising developers are selected from an initial review. That group then pitches their ideas live to a team of Air Force experts and defense partners for an opportunity to compete for on-the-spot contracts. Visit for more information or see the Michigan Defense Center calendar for any scheduled Pitch Day events in the state.


The Army sponsors a recurring competition called xTechSearch as a way to engage with the non-defense business sector and start-up technology companies in order to uncover novel dual-use science and technology solutions. The competition aims to tackle the Army’s most critical modernization challenges supporting the top Army focus areas. It consists of four phases that all eligible participants progress through, starting with white papers and culminating in proof-of-concept demonstrations at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference. Monetary prizes are given to the finalists in each phase. The xTechSearch program also provides resources to eligible small businesses by providing research opportunities with Army labs, and helping make connections to Army subject matter experts that can provide feedback and mentorship on their technology. For more information on the competition visit:

Current emerging and new technology focus areas:

  • Long Range Precision Fires – Soldier Lethality
  • Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) – Medical Technologies
  • Future Vertical Lift (FVL) – Military Engineering Technologies
  • Network Hardware, Software & Infrastructure – Manufacturing & Manufacturability Technologies
  • Air & Missile Defense  

Modernization in the Motor City

The U.S. Army Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) Cross Functional Team (CFT) located at the Detroit Arsenal in Sterling Heights hosts one-on-one sessions with industry, academic, and foreign and domestic defense partners. The purpose of the one-on-one sessions will be for Industry to market its capability, technology, or product to the NGCV CFT that it believes would provide utility to the U.S. Army and its Soldiers specific to Ground Combat Vehicles. These sessions will not be used to discuss specific requirements that have been, or are about to be, officially solicited by the Government. Interested parties should submit a one-page white paper to  that describes your product or technology and contains the following information:

  1. current relevant customers of your product;
  2. self-assessed maturity level of your product;
  3. why you believe your product would be beneficial to the Soldiers and how its related to

Ground Combat Vehicles; and

  1. any cost information associated with your product

National Security Innovation Network (NSIN)

The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) is a Department of Defense (DoD) program office that seeks to create new communities of innovators to solve national security problems. NSIN partners with national research universities and the venture community to reinvigorate civil-military technology collaboration. They do this by engaging innovators and start-ups through hosting challenges and awarding funds to selectees for developing dual use technologies. Visit for information on current challenges.