ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ann Arbor SPARK, the driving force for business acceleration in the region, has received its first repayment of a Michigan Microloan. Akervall Technologies, makers of the Protech Dent™ mouth guard, repaid its $15,000 microloan in just 15 months, nine months before it was due.
"Akervall Technologies is the perfect example of how the microloan funding is suppose to work," said Skip Simms, Ann Arbor SPARK senior vice president and administrator of the Michigan Microloan Fund Program. "Microloan funding helped Akervall jump the chasm between development and commercialization, providing a boost that the company used to market its product and acquire customers. The Michigan Microloan Fund Program fills a critical funding gap for emerging companies entering the market."
Based in Ann Arbor, Akervall Technologies was founded by Jan Akervall, MD, PhD, and Johannes Schwank, PhD. Its Protech Dent is a semi-custom mouth guard made of a non-compressible thermoplastic with precisely positioned perforations that disperse impact forces before they can reach the teeth, using crumple zones to further reduce impact.
"The microloan we received from Ann Arbor SPARK helped us to buy goods for our first inventory of products and to redo our website," said Sassa Akervall, chief operating officer, Akervall Technologies. "We were also able to bring in consultants to help us with social media marketing and a market analysis, activities that were invaluable in helping us lining up the right avenues for marketing and sales."
"Akervall Technologies is now in a position of seeing our sales increase by 300 percent this year," Akervall added. "We are currently launching a new sales organization for North America and are also seeing an increase in international sales. All of this activity was initiated with the help of the Michigan Microloan Fund Program award."
After completing work from a Department of Defense (DoD) SBIR Phase I grant this summer, Akervall Technologies has been invited to compete for a Phase II grant, also from the DoD, with the purpose of developing a novel, high tech mouth guard for the military.
The $15,000 of principal plus interest Akervall Technologies paid will be re-invested in the Michigan Microloan Fund Program.
Since the Michigan Microloan Fund Program was established in July 2009, 34 companies have received over $1.2 million in subordinated loans.
The $1.5 million Michigan Microloan Fund Program currently includes three distinct microloan funds. Through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program, $1 million was provided through the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund which was funded through the 21st Century Jobs Fund administered through the Michigan Economic Development Corp, $225,000 from the Eastern Washtenaw Microloan Fund, and $275,000 is currently available for companies located in the City of Ann Arbor via funding from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA).
Microloans available through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program range from $10,000 to $50,000. To qualify, companies must be a small business located in Michigan, have ownership or license to innovative technology, and be privately held.
For more information about the microloan programs managed by Ann Arbor SPARK, visit http://www.annarborusa.org/funding-incentives/.
ABOUT ANN ARBOR SPARK
Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is the driving force in establishing the Ann Arbor region as a destination for business expansion, retention, and location by identifying and meeting the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK represents all communities in Washtenaw County. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Washtenaw County, Washtenaw County etcs/Michigan Works!, the City of Ann Arbor, Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.
SOURCE Ann Arbor SPARK