Four Companies Receive Combined $122,000 From Michigan Microloan Fund Program

Jun 09, 2010, 09:57 ET from Ann Arbor SPARK

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Four Michigan companies recently received a combined total of $122,000 through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program, bringing the total amount invested through the Fund to over $1.2 million.  Akervall Technologies, Blaze Medical Devices, Ellison Corp., and Waste Water Heat Transfers Systems received the funding to support commercialization of their core products. 

Based in Ann Arbor, Akervall Technologies, founded by an otolaryngologist and a chemistry faculty member at the University of Michigan, has developed the Protech Dent™ mouth guard.  The Protech Dent is a semi-custom mouth guard made of a rigid polymer with precisely positioned perforations that disperse impact forces before they can reach the teeth, using crumple zones to further reduce impact.

"Visibility is key in retail," said Sassa Akervall, COO, Akervall Technologies.  "Microloan support will help us enhance our packaging to further promote the unique Protech Dent product in the market. Ultimately, the microloan will help our company grow through increased sales."

Blaze Medical Devices, based in Ann Arbor, is a medical device development company focusing on quality control and optimization for the blood banking and transfusion industry.  The company is developing a novel system for analyzing stored blood that will allow clinicians to predict the effectiveness of transfusions by assessing the levels and rates of quality loss during storage for individual units.

"The microloan will enable Blaze to conduct its first clinical study this year, in cooperation with Henry Ford and University of Michigan Hospitals," said Michael Tarasev, co-founder, Blaze Medical Devices.  "This study will provide preliminary validation of Blaze's proprietary testing system and its ability to predict transfusion efficacy, positioning the company with both the scientific foundation and investment appeal to advance to larger-scale studies as well as further develop its technology."

Detroit-based Ellison Corporation creates innovative safety devices for public roadways.  Its Emergency Response Warning System is a traffic signal that has side-mounted lights to provide a warning to the drivers that are unaware of approaching emergency vehicles. The objective of the system is to reduce the number of injuries and property and collateral damage that occur when drivers are not aware of emergency vehicles that are approaching intersections.

"Microloan funding from Ann Arbor SPARK was a much needed lifeline for my business," said Aaron K. Ellison, owner and CEO of Ellison Corp.  "Not being able to receive from any bank, credit union, or other incubators the necessary financing to purchase the materials needed to build prototypes prohibited the company closing business with municipalities. Without the microloan support, my business, like so many others, would have failed within the first year." 

Waste Water Heat Transfers Systems, LLC (W2HTS) has developed a cost effective energy conserving device called Heat Wave.  Heat Wave safely extracts heat from the waste stream and uses the energy to pre-heat potable water before it enters a facility's boiler.  The tempered water will reduce hot water energy cost by 40 to 60 percent, providing facility managers with a cost effective option to reduce energy bills and help obtain LEED certification.

"The Pre-Seed Microloan is an invaluable resource for our start-up company," said Doug Guldan, W2HTS co-founder.  "The microloan will make it possible to move into the prototype build and evaluation phase, where our products will be installed in commercial beta test sites for actual energy monitoring.  The loan will also be used to evaluate and test the device for certification.  Both events are critical steps that must be completed to take the company forward toward production launch."

The $1.5 million Michigan Microloan Fund Program currently includes three distinct microloan funds.  Through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program, $225,000 is available to start-ups via the Eastern Washtenaw Microloan Fund, $1 million is available through the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund from the 21st Century Jobs Fund administered through the Michigan Economic Development Corp, and $275,000 is available for companies located in the City of Ann Arbor via funding from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA).   

Since the Michigan Microloan Fund Program was established in July 2009, 34 companies have received over $1.2 million in subordinated loans.  

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


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 startups to large organizations.  Ann Arbor SPARK represents all communities in the 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, Michigan Works!/ETCS, Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, the Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit