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Posted on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 1:10 p.m.

Ann Arbor SPARK-managed microloan program distributes $200,000 in funds

By Nathan Bomey

The Michigan Microloan Fund Program, managed by Ann Arbor SPARK, today distributed $200,000 to four young companies, including three in Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor-based Allinnova, Procuit and The Whole Brain Group and Birmingham-based Solarflex received the funds.

The Michigan Microloan Fund Program draws funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, which SPARK manages, as well as the Ann Arbor Local Development Financing Authority and Washtenaw County. 

The organizations collaborated to pool $1.5 million to be provided in small amounts to established companies and startups whose financing needs are not adequately served by traditional banks.

"There’s very basic business functions they need to complete, and these microloans are really there for that kind of function," said Elizabeth Parkinson, SPARK's director of marketing and public relations.

The Whole Brain Group will use the funds to enhance its transition from a focus on providing software as a service to providing software products. The Whole Brain Group recently collaborated with Ann Arbor-based Arbormoon Software to develop an iPhone application for the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce.

Procuit, an educational software company, will use the funds to develop

Allinnova will use the funds to accelerate development of a tool that would help companies assess the effectiveness of proposed partnerships with other companies. Solarflex will devote its funds to further development of new solar cell technology.

“Attracting the funding required to support a company’s growth from research and development into the commercialization of a product or service can be a challenge,” said Skip Simms, the microloans administrator and managing director of business acceleration for SPARK, in a statement. "The microloan program is invaluable support that can take a company to its next growth phase in a shorter amount of time than seeking traditional funding sources."

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter.