Emerge Fund

$5,000 Available per applicant ($15,000 available for 2019). Available to for-profit small business entrepreneurs. The maximum per applicant is $5,000 but smaller grants are available and may issued based on project impact and potential milestones. This fund is made possible by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County and The Economic Development Alliance (EDA). Technology uses highly desired including app development, E-Commerce, Smart Technology, Automated Intelligence, etc. If approved, the funds can be utilized for:

  • Creating a Business Plan

  • Developing a Website

  • Filing a Patent

  • Other initiatives that can help launch or grow your business


Proving Grounds Fund

$10,000 in exchange for 5% equity in your business. This funding is for early stage companies after they’ve launched and already begun selling a product or service. This is “Fuel Funding” to grow your business faster! This fund is perfect for entrepreneurial businesses that offer scalability beyond risk. This fund was established by the Economic Development Alliance (EDA), Community Capital Club (C3) created by the Community Foundation and The Underground Business incubator.


Business Accelerator Funding (BAF)

The BAF program is designed to support business accelerators (like The Underground) in assisting emerging technology companies that play an important role strengthening the economy in the accelerator’s geographic region in Michigan. BAF funding requests may reach $50,000 , but most common BAF funded requests granted fall below $15,000. The Business Accelerator Fund is made possible to The Underground SmartZone incubator through a collaboration with the Michigan Small business Development Center, MEDC and Automation Alley. The fund is managed locally by The Underground and Economic Development Alliance. BAF funding is utilized by entrepreneurs to fund activities (through service providers) that help companies achieve important milestones. The larger the Accelerator engagement request, the more important it is that the company is bringing leverage to the deal and that the milestone completion positions the company to progress forward without further state financial supports. BAF funds may pay for high value services such as:

  • Development of a Marketing Plan

  • Conducting Market Study/Market Research

  • Develop Prototype for identified purpose

  • Cover Legal Costs for Strategic Licensing agreements

  • Conduct Patent Research

  • Engineering Services

  • Technology Validation / Product Testing

  • Technology Consulting

  • Develop Test Units for Beta Test

BAF funding is not intended to be subsidies to the company. It is critical that BAF funding solves, or assists in solving an unmet need within the commercialization development plan or strategic marketing plan for the venture.

For interest in any of these programs, please contact The Underground at 810.937.2003