REI E-Update

March, 2017

Share, Learn, Create Innovative Economic Development Ideas!

A diverse and dynamic network that develops and implements innovative economic development ideas, tools, models, policies, and practices for Michigan.

In This Issue

2017 Co-Learning Plan Announcement

The University Center for Regional Economic Innovation is pleased to announce our 2017 Co-Learning Plans and authors.

The Grand Ledge Fledge

As many types of spaces emerge in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the ability to create sustainable models becomes increasingly important. The failure of these spaces leads to negative impacts on the ecosystem. The Grand Ledge Fledge, a private for-profit space, incubates and accelerates people and companies. This Co-Learning Plan will describe the process for ideation, planning, prototyping and launching a business within the Fledge. The unique process employed removes barriers to entry through free services, space, and programming, while companies are pre-revenue. Jerry Noris will describe the companies formed within the Fledge and report their current results, potential future, and successes and failure.

Defining and Advancing Social Entrepreneurship in Michigan's Legacy Cities

Social Impact Philanthropy and Investment will collaborate with the Community Ventures program and the Urban Entrepreneurship initiative to establish a working definition of social entrepreneurship in Michigan's legacy cities and distressed urban areas. This will include evaluating primary data, developing case studies, and identifying resources available to economic developers with the aim of incentivizing social enterprises. Jason Ball of SIPI, will partner with Region 5's Community Ventures and Urban Entrepreneurship to create this plan.

Public Infrastructure and Economic Development

The plan will provide an analysis of federal, state and local policies that have been effective in directing publicly funded infrastructure investments toward strategic economic development purposes. The policies will be compared by geographic context, program criteria, effects on equity, and efficiency of job creation and investment leverage, and will be contextualized alongside traditional incentive programs. Data will be drawn from public documents, surveys and interviews with local and state officials and policy staff in national and regional development associations. Models will be recommended for Michigan along with guidance on projected costs, benefits, and outcomes. Dayne Walling of 21Performance will partner with Matt Ward of Sustainable Strategies DC for this project.

Leading From The Ground Up For Building Collaboration, Commerce, and Communication

Community leaders in and around the Township of Briley, Michigan have begun the process of uniting residents and organizations in the area to foster collaboration, commerce and communication. The single goal is to establish a cooperative set of practices and initiatives to build the area economically and residentially. Dr. Marvin Pichla will work with Briley Township to design a guidebook to facilitate a "bottom-up" approach to entrepreneurship and knowledge development. The Guide Book for Community Enhancement would establish a formalized, user-friendly process for encouraging the identification and development of innovative collaboration/commerce/communication building projects and programs. The project will allow for open participation by all citizens/groups and no concept large or small would be ignored.

2017 Innovation Fellows Anouncement

The University Center for Regional Economic Innovation is pleased to announce our first ever 2017 Innovation Fellows this year! The Innovation Fellows program was established to attract and support top champions in communities and organizations to tackle the tough economic development issues that our distressed communities face every day. Innovation Fellows provide on-the-ground support and coordination to move concepts to actions, implementing new economic development tools, models, and policies. Innovation Fellows will identify recommendations in past Co-Learning Projects to serve as current and practical information for local and state economic development practitioners and policymakers as they consider important decisions for Michigan communities and regions.

Samantha Farr - Women Who Weld and Focus Hope

Women Who Weld is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, based in Detroit, that teaches unemployed and underemployed women how to weld and find employment in the welding industry. Women Who Weld's 6-week welding program is funded through donations and grants and is subsidized for participants. Women Who Weld was founded in 2014 and has hosted two workshops; graduating 8 women and helping them find employment. The Women Who Weld program teaches participants how to weld using MIG (metal inert gas) welding, and how to drill, measure, and cut metal. Additionally, Women Who Weld participants receive training for the American Welding Society Certified Welding (CW) test. Focus HOPE, a non-profit civil and human rights organization based in Detroit, is in the process of building a welding facility on its campus. Women Who Weld's training program will be located in this facility. Women Who Weld will resume the 6-week training program in February 2017 and expects to
graduate 75-100 women each year. Samantha Farr, Founder and Instructor to Women Who Weld, will be leading this Innovation Fellowship.

Bill Stough - Triple Bottom Line

In regions of the state where entrepreneurial innovation is more established, the emergence of the Triple Bottom Line business model is driving growth of companies that are decidedly place-based, pay better wages and prefer purchasing local goods and services. This innovative business trend implies a shift from the current focus of reducing the negative impacts of economic activity to the deliberate generation of positive impacts. It is the goal of this REI Fellows initiative to actively introduce and help implement the TBL approach in the East Central Michigan region consisting of: Clare, Gladwin, Arenac, Bay, Midland, Isabella, Gratiot and Saginaw counties. Although not widely described as a disadvantaged community, this 8-county region has an average ALICE rating that indicates 43.25% of the population live below income levels needed to achieve minimal living standards. Bill Stough, President of Sustainable Research Group, will be leading this Innovation Fellowship.

MAP Needs Your Input

The Michigan State University Center for Community & Economic Development (CCED), in partnership with the Michigan Association of Planning, is conducting a survey to better understand how planners in Michigan think, feel, learn, and act in regards to sustainable development.

This survey seeks to understand how views of sustainable development have changed since 2007, when the first survey was conducted. Results will be used to inform planners, educators and public officials about perceptions, current practice, and barriers to sustainable development planning.

Click here to take the 15-20 minute survey. 

MSU Center for Community and Economic Development, University Center for Regional Economic Innovation, 1615 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912
Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact