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LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

Paula Sorrell

Paula Sorrell is the Director of the Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan. Prior to U of M, she served as V.P. of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Venture Capital for the Michigan Economic Development Corp, overseeing $1B under management to support Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including university research and tech transfer, technology service providers, tech incubators, seed funding programs, portfolio investments and fund of funds. With a focus on leveraging private funding into early tech development, expanded private and federal investment leverage from 6:1 to 35:1 and expanded the pipeline of new tech companies three-fold. Primary focus was building companies built on strong science from university research, including creating state initiatives for First Customer program, Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program, and Technology Commercialization Assistance program for early stage companies.

Prior to MEDC, she has held senior management roles at seven early technology companies. All start-ups resulted in successful sale of the company, or are still a going concern; four were university tech transfer spin-outs. Paula is a part-time lecturer at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering in the Center for Entrepreneurship on topics of tech-to-market strategies. Past consulting work includes technology business evaluator of investment portfolio companies and investment funds. She helped start the 14 year-old Michigan SBDC Tech Team, an organization that helps early stage tech companies raise on average $60MM per year. She currently sits on the boards of the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Institute, the Ann Arbor Local Development Finance Authority (treasurer), the and Michigan Translational Research Advanced Transportation. She holds a bachelor degree in marketing and an MBA from Central Michigan University.