eCities FAQs

What is eCities?

eCities is iLabs' annual study that examines community-level factors that influence entrepreneurship, economic development, and job growth. The focus is on entrepreneurship because of its importance to the expansion and diversification of regional economies and small businesses’ impact on job creation. eCities' primary purpose is to understand and share the best practices, or success stories, of communities to attract entrepreneurial development and create business growth.

What is iLabs?

iLabs is the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Office of Engagement and Impact. Housed within the College of Business, iLabs is dedicated to advancing the understanding of corporate, entrepreneurial, and institutional innovation and their impact on economic development.

Aren’t entrepreneurial indexes already available?

There are other studies which measure entrepreneurial growth, but these studies use Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) data. MSA data includes an urbanized area which can encompass numerous cities across multiple counties, thus comparing metropolitan Detroit to metropolitan Chicago and not the City of Detroit to the City of Chicago. Other indices typically utilize as few as two factors to examine entrepreneurship, which does not consider the wide-range of efforts by communities to attract businesses and the entrepreneurial people that operate them.

How is eCities different?

Unlike other entrepreneurial studies, eCities examines entrepreneurial growth at the community level. Researching entrepreneurial growth in individual cities, townships, and villages provides an understanding of how policies are decided, the impact of those polices, and the overall responsiveness of local governments. 

What does eCities measure?

eCities examines five-year's worth of publicly available data on communities to analyze trends surrounding business and economic cycles. More specifically, the study examines eleven publicly available data points relating to community growth and investment metrics that impact the business community.

Property Values: Examines the changes in real, personal, and overall total property

Property Taxes: Examines the changes in the average non-homestead tax rate

Governmental Assets: Examines the changes in non-depreciated, depreciated, and total governmental assets

How is the data collected?

All of the quantitative data comes from publicly available records. Qualitative research is conducted with local economic officials to gain a better understanding of strategies and successes.

I’m a Township/City/Village and I want to participate in eCities:

If you are a Township, City, or Village that wishes to share in the best practices of communities to promote entrepreneurial growth and economic development, contact Kari Kowalski at 313-593-4209 or [email protected] for more information.

What makes a community a top performer in the study?

To see our top performers and how they excel, please visit the Archive and Honored Communities pages.

iLabs Office of Engagement and Impact

100 - Fairlane Center North
19000 Hubbard Drive
Dearborn, MI 48126
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