The Lansing Regional SmartZone (LRSZ) celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Technology Innovation Center (TIC) in East Lansing, recognizing key leaders and partners who have supported the growth of over 120 businesses in the region, highlighting the ongoing success of the entrepreneurial community and the TIC’s role in fostering innovation and collaboration.
EAST LANSING, MI — The Lansing Regional SmartZone (LRSZ) hosted a 15th anniversary celebration for the Technology Innovation Center (TIC) on Oct. 26, 2023. The facility has nurtured entrepreneurs in the Greater Lansing region since its opening in 2008. The event, which recognized the leaders and committed partners who have helped the TIC over the past 15 years, included a showing of the LRSZ video commemorating this milestone.
“This anniversary offers a tremendous opportunity to celebrate entrepreneurs pushing our region’s economy forward, as well as the community partners critical to supporting collaboration and growth in this ecosystem,” said Ben Bakken, outgoing chair of the Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA), which oversees the LRSZ. “We’ve come a long way over the past 15 years. Given the momentum and additional resources we have now, I can’t wait to see what success looks like in another 15 years.”
The following leaders and partners were recognized at the celebration:
Jeff Smith, director of research parks at the MSU Research Foundation and a key driver in the creation of the TIC, received the Technology Innovation Center Lifetime Achievement Award.
Katy Kelly of Total Reentry Solutions, a MSU Research Foundation portfolio company, received the Future of the Technology Innovation Center Award, for her startup’s work supporting people returning from incarceration. Total Reentry Solutions has experienced exponential growth since joining the TIC earlier this year.
The City of East Lansing Economic Development and Planning department received the Founders Circle Award for its forethought and commitment in creating the TIC.
The Michigan State University Research Foundation and its subsidiary, Spartan Innovations; Michigan State University and the Michigan State University Innovation Center; the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP); and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) all received Funders Circle Awards, for their continued financial support of the TIC as well as commitment to its ongoing success through programming.
The Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation received the Ecosystem Partner Award, for its support of student entrepreneurs as the first step in engaging critical talent pipeline from Michigan State University.
“So many amazing businesses have gotten their start through the TIC,” said Smith, recipient of the Technology Innovation Center Lifetime Achievement Award. “The fact that the TIC is still thriving 15 years later speaks to the passion and brilliance of Lansing’s entrepreneurial community, as well as the dedication of our community partners, who understood the immense return on investment their support would generate for our region.”
Over the past 15 years, the TIC has welcomed more than 120 businesses into this space, covering everything from advanced medical technologies to innovative agricultural technologies and from go-carts to wine cellars. Today, the TIC continues to provide a collaborative workspace, programmatic support, and vital resources at its 7,000 square-foot facility in downtown East Lansing. The TIC offers its tenants a host of resources, including networking sessions, skills boot camps and a full-scale podcast studio.
“The future is bright—for the TIC, for the LRSZ, and for the Greater Lansing region as a whole,” said Jessy Gregg, the incoming chair of the LDFA. “I’m excited to continue the work of leveraging partnerships to help transform our regional economy and create the best possible environment for the next generation of world-changing tech startups.”
About the Michigan State University Research Foundation
The Michigan State University Research Foundation was established in 1973 as an independent nonprofit committed to the commercialization of cutting-edge technologies invented by MSU faculty, staff, and students. Today, the MSU Research Foundation is focused on enhancing research, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, and facilitating economic growth at MSU and across the state through its subsidiary organizations—Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures, and Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III—and its Research Parks.
About the Lansing Regional SmartZone
The Lansing Regional SmartZone (LRSZ) drives growth in the Greater Lansing region’s high-tech sector by funding local partners to deliver exceptional entrepreneurial support services. The LRSZ is a partnership between Ingham County, City of Lansing, City of East Lansing, Lansing Community College, East Lansing Public Schools, Lansing School District, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Michigan State University Research Foundation, Michigan State University Innovation Center, and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). A dynamic organization of leaders from all backgrounds and business sectors, the LRSZ has locations in downtown East Lansing at the Technology Innovation Center (TIC) and in Lansing at the MSU Health Park. To learn more, visit LansingRegionalSmartZone.com
This article was first published by the MSU Research Foundation.