SOUTHFIELD An Industry 4.0 Accelerator program—the first of its kind in the U.S.—is launching in Michigan with the goal to help small and medium-sized technology and manufacturing companies along their digital transformation journeys.

The Industry 4.0 Accelerator program—lead by Automation Alley with support services from Lean Rocket Lab and Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator—is a $2.5 million investment fund made possible through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation with $1.3 million currently available for early-stage companies as well as established firms looking to commercialize products, services or technologies within the Industry 4.0 sector.

Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is known as the convergence of the digital and physical technologies disrupting industry and includes technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, advanced robotics, 3D printing and digital twin.

 “Industry 4.0 is challenging the way businesses operate around the globe. It’s no longer a question of whether your company will be affected by the digital transformation but when. We are pleased to partner with Lean Rocket Lab and LTU’s Centrepolis on the Industry 4.0 Accelerator program and are looking forward to investing in innovative companies and Michigan’s future,” said Tom Kelly, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley, a leading technology and manufacturing business association and Industry 4.0 knowledge center based in Troy, Michigan.

“The attraction, development and deployment of the best technologies will help these companies succeed and simultaneously ensure Michigan’s continued role as the epicenter of advanced manufacturing,” added Brandon Marken, founder and CEO of Lean Rocket Lab, a Jackson, Michigan-based manufacturing and tech-focused startup accelerator and incubator.

Companies involved in the program will receive direct investment and business coaching services to help spur innovation, commercialization and growth. The accelerator is also looking for larger firms and organizations to partner on this effort and support Industry 4.0 adoption for Michigan manufacturers.

Services will be customized to meet the needs of each participating company, including potential pilot and demonstration project funding support with customers and strategic partners, potential connections to product development partnerships with customers and strategic partners, individualized training and mentorship, company growth assessments, technical and business milestone progress planning, strategic plan development, assessing management team and talent needs, investment and fundraising strategy support, potential connections to investors and capital sources, shared workspace opportunities and more.

“There is simply no better location for an Industry 4.0 Accelerator than in the heart of the world’s most important advanced manufacturing market—Michigan!” said Dan Radomski, Director, Centrepolis Accelerator.

“The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is proud to support the Industry 4.0 Accelerator program,” said Nadia Abunasser, Federal and Development Projects Director for the MEDC. “The addition of this program will ensure high-tech manufacturing startups across Michigan have access to the resources they need to take their projects from ideation to commercialization, solidifying Michigan as a leader in entrepreneurship and innovation while continuing to build on our manufacturing heritage.”