Looking for entrepreneurial growth and innovation in Michigan? Check out these communities.

October 29, 2019

The annual eCities study recognizes 183 cities and townships for contributing to Michigan’s economic growth.

Five 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 the cities of Hillsdale, Houghton, Saginaw, Tecumseh and Hartland Township as 2019 eCities Honored Communities for their successes and efforts in contributing to Michigan’s growth. In addition, 178 communities were named five- and four-star performers. 

The eCities study analyzed publicly available data from 277 communities from 54 counties in Michigan. Researchers focused on the five-year changes in property values, community assets and tax rates, which can demonstrate the growth, investments and cost of doing business within the community.

“While accounting for only about 15 percent of the cities and townships in Michigan, the 277 communities analyzed are home to 70 percent of the population and 85 percent of the state’s commercial property,” said Tim Davis, the College of Business’ assistant dean for student engagement and success. “By analyzing these high-performing communities, our goal is to showcase what cities and townships are doing to spur growth and how we can continue to support their efforts in developing business and encouraging entrepreneurs.”

For example, over the five-year period of 2014-2018, these communities increased their capital assets by an average of 2.25 percent per year by investments such as road and parking structure improvements, water main and streetscape upgrades, as well as police, fire and computer equipment, while property tax rates increased by less than 1 percent on average per year.

Local communities who participate in the project receive benchmarking reports showing their performance at creating inviting business environments and encouraging entrepreneurial growth. The focus of the project is to learn and share community success stories to attract entrepreneurial development and create business growth. Understanding these success stories, or best practices, and utilizing these concepts across Michigan can positively impact the state’s economic future.

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