The Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) is a statewide university network designed to create partnerships that will connect state industry to critical university talent in ways that will help the Michigan economy grow and prosper. This network is made up of 15 public institutions across the state of Michigan.

In addition to enhancing comprehensive business engagement offices and providing access to experts on campuses, MCRN has developed two signature program activities. For small companies, MCRN offers a Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP) to provide access to research and a Small Company Internship Award (SCIA) to provide access to talent.


The Small Company Internship Award Program (SCIA) provides funding to help small businesses hire university students to work as interns on projects that are both beneficial to the company and academically relevant to the student. Especially targeted toward Michigan businesses in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field, the SCIA program is designed to increase students’ exposure to innovative processes and products emerging from companies that employ high-skill workers and to encourage student job placements with innovative and dynamic Michigan companies after graduation.

To be eligible for the SCIA program, companies must be based in Michigan with significant business operations in the state. The SCIA is a matching grant program where funding for a 12-week internship or co-op position is split evenly between the SCIA and the hosting company.



The Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP) provides matching funds up to $40,000 to Michigan small businesses to help cover the cost of conducting a research project at any state of Michigan public university.

The program is intended to help companies overcome a common challenge faced by small companies and entrepreneurs – getting research and development needs met so they can get to commercialization faster. Often, universities have the expertise and facilities that the company needs, but small companies may not have the connections nor are they able to afford the cost of conducting research and development at a university. The program aims to introduce companies to the benefits of working with a university to increase the number of university/industry collaborations across the state, and to accelerate a company’s positive economic impact.