August 24, 2017 - The Michigan Department of Treasury recently awarded a 15-year funding extension to the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone. The funding received by the SmartZone from the State are designated to create and promote the development and attraction of high-technology activities to the SmartZone areas of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
The Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone was one of only three SmartZones in Michigan whose funding was renewed for a 15-year period.
"The SmartZone funding extension acknowledges the LDFA is meeting the State's expectations for helping early stage companies establish themselves and grow," said Howard Lazarus, Ann Arbor's city administrator. "Considering the number of high tech companies that have started here and continue to invest in our community, there's no doubt that the entrepreneurial activity happening here is a positive impact on our economy."
The Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone activities include activities permitted by the legislation such as providing startups with business acceleration and incubator services, creating networking opportunities, and leading talent attraction and retention efforts.
The SmartZone in the City of Ypsilanti was identified as part of the 15-year extension. Mayor Amanda Edmonds said, "We are excited about the support the SmartZone can offer new businesses in Ypsilanti. We have seen the successes in Ann Arbor and from our SPARK East incubator and look forward to continuing to support entrepreneurs in Ypsilanti."
The SmartZone is led by a volunteer board appointed by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti City Councils. Funding for the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone – state dollars calculated locally to specifically support economic development - is overseen by the Board and monitored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Board creates a strategic plan and budgets the annual program under the terms of the contract with the State of Michigan. The Board has a contract with Ann Arbor SPARK to administer the SmartZone services.
"The MEDC's goal is to stimulate economic development by providing the resources and support needed for startups to get established and grow in Michigan," said Fred Molnar, MEDC vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation. "The continually demonstrated success of the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone through job creation and funding plays an important role in our entrepreneurial ecosystem."
"We're pleased to partner with the LDFA as a part of our comprehensive regional economic development, public-private-academic partnership," said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. "What's particularly exciting about this new contract is having a permanent source of funding for supporting entrepreneurs in Ypsilanti, versus having to recruit support from public-private sector partners each year. Ypsilanti is a terrific place to start a business and providing resources in that community will directly benefit the growth of our economy across the region."
Learn more about the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone.
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SmartZones provide distinct geographical locations where technology-based firms, entrepreneurs and researchers locate in proximity to all of the community assets that assist in their endeavors. SmartZone technology clusters promote resource collaborations between universities, industry, research organizations, government and other community institutions, growing technology-based businesses and jobs. New and emerging business in SmartZone technology clusters are primarily focused on commercializing ideas, patents and other opportunities surrounding corporate, university or private research institute R&D efforts.