Encouraging entrepreneurship: iLabs’ eCities research recognizes 33 Michigan communities developing a positive entrepreneurial climate

November 13, 2014

University of Michigan-Dearborn iLabsSix 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 Village of Almont, Delta Charter Township, City of Madison Heights, City of Midland, City of Saline and City of Sault Ste. Marie for their incentives, innovative programs and best practices geared toward business development.

eCities highlights how local governments from across Michigan are growing their communities and supporting businesses. Being a university, we want to share the successes and educate about the best practices that can be used by other communities in the state,” said Tim Davis, director, iLabs.

An additional 28 communities also are recognized as five- and four-star performers.

Five-Star Communities (*denotes best practice community)
Five-star communities spent a combined $2.6 million on economic development, had more than $140 million in additions to assets in the past year and had more than $19 billion in combined real and personal property values.

Ann Arbor Charter Township
City of Ann Arbor
City of Auburn Hills
City of Dearborn
Delta Charter Township*
City of Grand Blanc
City of Grandville
Kochville Township
Marquette Charter Township
City of Midland*
City of Northville
Plymouth Township
City of Plymouth
City of Rochester Hills
City of Sault Ste. Marie*
City of Wixom

Four-Star Communities (*denotes best practice community)
Four-star communities combined for over $11 billion in construction, issued more than 1,800 commercial construction permits and spent more than $3.5 million in economic development.

Cascade Charter Township
City of Coldwater
City of Livonia
City of Madison Heights*
City of Mason
City of Novi
City of Marquette
Charter Township of Meridian
Northville Charter Township
City of Rochester
City of Romulus
City of Saline*
Scio Township
City of Southfield
City of Sterling Heights
City of Tecumseh
City of Woodhaven

The eCities research surveyed 83 communities from 30 counties in Michigan that are home to 26 percent of Michigan residents and 33 percent of its college graduates. These communities count nearly one quarter of the state’s entrepreneurs with over $2.6 billion in self-employed income as residents. These communities also had more than $12.3 billion in 2013 commercial construction and account for more than 31 percent of Michigan’s commercial property.

“We are seeing the nature of economic development evolving, and eCities is a tool to help local governments demonstrate their role in the changing economy. These governments are supporting unique and innovative efforts locally, while collaborating regionally to help Michigan business compete in an ever-changing business climate,” Davis said.

The communities were honored today at UM-Dearborn. Support for eCities is provided in part by the DTE Energy Foundation, Miller Canfield, 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, 197 communities across Michigan have participated in the study.