UM-Dearborn’s iLabs’ eCities research recognizes 52 Michigan communities developing a positive entrepreneurial climate

Representatives from University of Michigan-Dearborn congratulate the City of Sturgis, Mich., for the city’s commitment to business development.

Eight communities across the state of Michigan have been identified for the strategies they employ to foster entrepreneurial growth and economic development, according to the annual eCities study. The study, conducted by iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research, identified Imlay City, Madison Heights, Meridian Township, Midland, Mount Pleasant, Sterling Heights, Sturgis and Tecumseh for their incentives, innovative programs and best practices geared toward business development.

“These communities are being recognized for the best practices they utilize, which include the right mix of tools and resources for their business community,” said Tim Davis, director, iLabs. “They listen to companies, help them with governmental processes, connect them with other companies and listen to what both new and existing businesses are saying. They are the definition of partners in the process and not just a service provider.”

An additional 44 communities also are recognized as five-and four-star performers.

Five-Star Communities (*denotes best practice community)
Five-star communities spend a combined $2.2 million on economic development, have 15 percent of Michigan’s population with a professional degree and 92 percent share services related to economic development with another municipality.

City of Auburn Hills
City of Coldwater
City of Dearborn
City of East Lansing
City of Imlay City*
City of Marshall
City of Midland*
City of Monroe
City of Mount Pleasant*
City of Rochester Hills
City of Sault Ste. Marie
City of Southfield
City of Sterling Heights*
City of Sturgis*
City of Tecumseh*
City of Troy
City of Wixom
Delhi Charter Township
Kochville Township
Plymouth Township
City of Grandville
City of Kentwood
City of Marine City
City of Farmington Hills
City of Grand Blanc
City of Madison Heights*
City of Northville
City of Rochester
Delta Charter Township

Four-Star Communities (*denotes best practice community)
Four-star communities combined for over $1 billion in construction in 2012, increased assets by $94 million and more than 80 percent share services across municipalities.

Alpine Township
Cascade Charter Township
City of Ann Arbor
City of Eastpointe
City of Frankenmuth
City of Grand Rapids
City of Holland
City of Litchfield
City of Mason
City of Milan
City of Niles
City of Novi
City of Plymouth
City of Portage
Flint Charter Township
Grand Rapids Charter Township
Thomas Township
Village of Almont
Charter Township of Meridian*
City of Alpena
City of Marquette
Northville Charter Township
Superior Charter Township

The eCities research surveyed 102 communities from 37 counties in Michigan that are home to 36 percent of Michigan residents and 40 percent of its college graduates. These communities count nearly one-third of the state’s entrepreneurs with over $3.2 billion in self-employed income as residents. These communities also had more than $1.8 billion in 2012 commercial construction and account for more than 48 percent of Michigan’s commercial property.

“This annual project makes the university part of the local leader’s toolkit for economic development. We are tackling a statewide concern and analyzing the parts that local leaders can directly impact,” Davis said. “Participating communities can identify best practices and methods they can implement to aid in job growth, economic diversification and development of entrepreneurs.” 

The communities will be honored today, Thursday, November 14, at UM-Dearborn. Support for eCities 2013 is provided in part by the DTE Energy Foundation, Point and Pay, Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs and UM-Dearborn’s College of Business.

The annual eCities research project, which began in 2007, uses data supplied by the participants, as well as other public records to assemble a six-factor, 32-item index of entrepreneurial activity, looking at such factors as clustering, incentives, growth, policies, community and education. The study focuses on entrepreneurship because of its importance to expansion and diversification of Michigan’s regional economies and the impact small businesses have on job creation. To date, 182 communities across Michigan have participated in the study.

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