Michigan Security Network and Wayne State University Launch Joint Venture to Spur US Entrepreneurship in Homeland Security

Partnership will utilize Kauffman Foundation's FastTrac training to facilitate technology start-ups

In support of its mission to accelerate homeland security technology development, investment and jobs in Michigan, the Michigan Security Network has developed a joint venture with Wayne State University to provide training for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as mature businesses interested in this growing market.

The training will be offered through WSU's TechTown in the form of two FastTrac programs designed with homeland security content provided by Michigan Security Network. FastTrac is a practical, hands-on business development program designed to help entrepreneurs hone their skills needed to create, manage and grow a successful business. FastTrac is a globally renowned program created by the Kansas City-based Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation, a TechTown partner organization and America's leading expert on entrepreneurship education, research and growth.

"Homeland security is one of the fastest-growing market segments for new technology and a significant expansion opportunity for Michigan businesses," said Leslie Touma, CEO and founder of Michigan Security Network. "Through the FastTrac program, Michigan Security Network will share our knowledge of the homeland security market, such as what kind of technology gaps currently exist and where the investment opportunities are for companies of all sizes."

The two FastTrac programs on homeland security will include:
FastTrac NewVenture helps aspiring entrepreneurs define and evaluate business concepts, providing a blueprint for identifying the next steps toward entrepreneurial success. FastTrac Planning is geared toward the business owner, focusing on taking companies to new levels of growth and expanding business operations.

"TechTown already has an established, successful process in place for business incubation," said Judy Johncox, WSU Director, Commercialization Services. "A focused effort on homeland security will create a platform for a new area of technology opportunity that we haven't explored before."

To participate in the homeland security FastTrac training, interested companies are first asked to attend the MiSN Homeland Security Market Leadership Conference taking place on Nov. 4 at the Dearborn Hyatt. The conference will be the first opportunity to not only hear from homeland security experts on technology and sub-contractor needs in this market segment but also meet decision makers in the industry.

Conference attendees can begin the registration process that will be used to select qualified participants for the homeland security FastTrac programs. The training, currently scheduled for early 2010, will focus on cyber security, bio defense and border security — the three target areas of the Michigan Security Network.

More than 70 percent of companies that Michigan Security Network will work with fall into cyber security, bio defense or border security. These have been identified as major areas of opportunity for Michigan-based businesses according to an in-depth market analysis commissioned by the organization.

Funding for FastTrac is made possible through a US$9.24 million alliance between the New Economy Initiative for southeastern Michigan, one of America's most expansive philanthropy partnerships, and the Kauffman Foundation.
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