Director’s Update: EDA Grant Progress Report
In June 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) approved TechTown/MedHealth’s application for investment for the MedHealth Recovery and Resiliency Initiative, focused on contributing to economic revitalization, creating jobs, and attracting private investment. We talked with MedHealth's director, Stacey Frankovich, to get an update on progress during this reporting period.
Questions and Answers
What has been the primary focus of MedHealth's EDA grant work since last fall?
Our primary work in the past six months has been dedicated to preparing for the annual summit, designing our communication strategy, raising our regional profile, and planning updates to the Pathfinder web tool. Additionally, we used this time to serve innovators, develop deeper ties to the medtech community through continued outreach, and to collaborate with national stakeholders to promote the activity in Michigan.
How are you raising MedHealth's regional profile?
I had the great opportunity to represent MedHealth at the ViVE Digital Health Conference in Miami in March 2022. This was the first time MedHealth had representation at a live event since the start of the pandemic. In my capacity as a board member for together.health, I contributed to a new national health ecosystem mapping project that was launched at the conference. This project aims to develop a comprehensive, real-time database of health innovators and partners in the U.S. today.
Additionally, we created a comprehensive strategic communications plan to synchronize MedHealth's work around the state and showcase Michigan as a desirable location to launch and grow a medtech business. During the development of this plan, we met and spoke to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, universities, incubators and accelerator programs, and other regional stakeholders to gain more insight into how we can best interact with them and how we can synchronize messaging to support statewide efforts.
What MedHealth events were held during this reporting period?
We hosted our annual MedHealth Matchmaking Mixer virtually on October 21 and 22, connecting medtech innovators, health systems, educational institutes, investors, and public- and private-sector resources. The bulk of the event facilitated one-on-one meetings to encourage collaboration and make an impact on commercialization capabilities for the innovator community. We also cohosted a webinar in November, How Does Your Tech Stack Up, a MedHealth/TechTown panel discussion to discuss tech stacking and when to integrate technology into your business.
Lastly, in collaboration with TechTown and MedHealth, VentureWell delivered the ASPIRE Healthcare Accelerator Program. The virtual investment readiness program hosted 12 medtech startup companies from October 4 to November 19, 2021. The teams went through a mock due-diligence process designed to expose the companies to the challenges that can arise, using a series of stress tests that give the teams a sense of potential unexpected encounters that may occur along the way.
How are you keeping stakeholders updated on news and events?
MedHealth continues to develop unique stories each month to highlight successes, events, and opportunities. One of the ways we do this is by featuring events and opportunities to members of our network through the MedHealth Minute, our monthly e-newsletter and website publication. During the reporting period we interacted with over 1,400 stakeholders through our various communication mediums. Some highlights include:
- Published and promoted two success stories on healthcare innovation companies, Urban Docz and Maternal 911
- Announced partnership with research expert, Sukhi Ajimal, who is offering one-on-one counsel to healthcare entrepreneurs in our network
- Promoted a new program that aims to diversify angel investing across the Great Lakes region
- Highlighted four longstanding members of the MedHealth steering committee, Deborah Livneh, 'Tember Shea, Gene Parunak, and Dom Holmes
Tell us about the other types of stakeholder engagement you've conducted.
In this six-month reporting period, I was proud to see that MedHealth had 47 one-on-one interactions with innovators which resulted in 29 connections to other stakeholders or resources. Additionally, MedHealth supported two California medtech startup companies eager to work in Michigan find lab space. These two startups found us through our national stakeholder network and reached out for assistance. We also conducted three steering committee meetings and two regional ecosystem partner meetings.
What's the latest on the Pathfinder web tool?
Part of our EDA grant work is focused on creating a more robust and intuitive Pathfinder that offers a streamlined interface for end users. During this grant period, we conducted two of three strategy sessions to understand key areas of need, including creating a robust library of educational content that can be utilized at all stages of growth, developing greater opportunities for strategic connections, and ecosystem mapping to ensure a synchronized approach to serving the innovator community and reduce duplicated efforts by our Entrepreneurial Service Organizations.
What's on deck for MedHealth in the near term?
I'm looking forward to so many things in the next six or eight months!
- The live, in-person 2022 MedHealth Summit on November 1
- The ASPIRE program in October and November, which will be hybrid and culminate in person in Detroit November 3 and 4
- A webinar in partnership with the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce on COVID-19’s impact on mental health and innovative solutions
- The release of Pathfinder 2.0