Request for Proposal (RFP) Information Page

The Lansing Regional SmartZone has announced the launch of a $300,000 Request for Proposal (RFP) aimed at securing services and programs to catalyze the growth of the tech economy in the Greater Lansing region over the next three years. The initiative seeks highly qualified candidates to submit proposals to enhance the SmartZone ecosystem and propel technological innovation by reducing the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs to use tech tools as well as create their own new products. To read more about the RFP and its aims please click here.

The Lansing Regional SmartZone, which is overseen by the Joint LDFA Board of Lansing and East Lansing, will adhere to the following deadlines:

  • RFP Lauch on Dec. 11, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. EST
  • Written RFP questions are due Jan. 17, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. EST. (Proposal Submissions are not due till March1st).
  • Final response to RFP questions will be posted on Jan. 31, 2024 by 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Blackout period will begin February 1st at 5:00 pm. EST
  • Written Proposals are due March 1, 2024 by 5 p.m. EST.

To read the full RFP language please click here.

All questions must be submitted in writing before January 17th, 2024 for consideration – to submit questions click here you can also email questions to Harrison Leffel-Jones at

Questions and Answers

As questions come in they will be posted and answered below.

  • Question – Do all partners in a proposal need to be based in the SmartZone footprint?
    • Answer – The lead respondent must have a pressence within the SmartZone TIF District as defined in the RFP. This may take the form of an office or virtual tenancy within an MSU Research Foundation or other building in the District. Not all partners/co-applicants need to be located within the SmartZone TIF Disctrict. All services/programs must be deployed within the SmartZone TIF District but be widely available to entreprenuers in the tri-county region (Clinton, Ingham, or Eaton Counties).
    • If a Respondent has a facility/homebase outside of the SmartZone TIF District (as defined in the appendices of the RFP) they are still welcome to apply for the funds. However, as stated above the contract they must have a presence within the SmartZone TIF Distrcit to qualify for the funds.
    • Respondents from outsdie the region who partner with existing local and regional resources will be viewed favourably in the application and review process.
  • Question – Can a Respondent submit a proposal for just the secondary services?
    • Answer – Respondents may submit proposals which cover one or more areas of interest. Given the scope of the RFP and the amount of funding allocated it may not be possible to achieve multiple areas of focus within a proposal. However, it is highly encouraged for Respondents to partner with other organizations where the main proposal may be lacking and will be graded more favorably.
  • Question – Are there any thoughts on the amount of companies that the provider will be expected to work with on an annual basis?
    • Answer – There is not a set number of companies which providers are expected to work with. If the Respondent focuses on a small subset/group of companies for any reason it should be made clear in the response why they chose that number/group of companies. For example – a Respondent might limit it to 5 companies per year based on budget constraints.
  • Question – Is the venture studio approach pure mentorship and guidance to help with product discovery, design, and strategy? Or, is product development expected with that approach as well? 
    • Answer – Respondents may choose any of the focus areas outlined in the RFP or combinations of those focus areas to base their response on. The Venture Studio portion of the RFP was a result of feedback from companies in the region who have often had to seek seperate individual providers for Accounting, HR, Technical Product oversight, etc. and this model is asking for a “one stop shop” for an entreprenuer to scale their business. Regardless of how a Respondent chooses to frame their submission – the review committee will be looking to make sure the Respondent can effectively execute the work they have committed to doing with the budget provided.
  • Question – Are respondents to this RFP required to secure additional funding to have their proposal accepted? If so, what are the amounts of additional funding required?
    • Answer – Respondents do not need to secure additional funding in order to apply for this funding opportunity. However, as the funds are limited in amount and number of years, Respondents who can bring in additional funds and or funding partners will be rated higher. For example if a service provider for programming brings in a financial partner to support the program that would be acceptable.
  • Question – What are some examples of programs that would fit the criteria for this RFP?
    • Answer – A Respondent who can do the following:
      • 1. Support a specific number of companies per year to create MVPs of tech products so that the company can go out and validate the product for further development.
      • 2. Support a specific number of companies with full service C-Suite for their business so that they can scale more effectively. This will allow founders to go full time on their business by getting them to market scale faster.
  • Question – Can we still participate in the RFP if we do not have a physical office in the district itself?
    • Answer – We are asking all Respondents to deploy their services within the District as described. For any entity applying that is headquartered outside of the District you may be asked to have a virtual or physical presence at our co-working space within the District. This will be part of the review process. 
  • Question – Is there any possibility that we submit the RFP and post that we can set up an office in the district?
    • Answer – Yes, Respondents may indicate in their submission that they plan to set up an office/presence within the District as part of their proposal.