Discovering and applying new and innovative economic development tools, models, policies, and programs
Creating Jobs and Wealth in Distressed Michigan Communities

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'23-'24 Project Overviews

Welcome to the 2024 project year! The MSU U.S. EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) funds several types of projects: Co-Learning Projects, researched and written by professionals; Co-Implementation Plans, led by Innovation Fellows; and Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Technical Assistance projects, researched and written by student teams at Michigan universities and colleges. Please visit the Completed Projects page for examples of these types of work. You may also view the application page for project timelines and to apply for REI funding. Submitted projects will receive priority if they serve Asset Limited-Income Constrained-Employed (ALICE) populations living within Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRCs) and/or Opportunity Zones (OZs). Projects are encouraged to focus on one of four foci areas, including: resiliency planning, financial resiliency, circular economies, or 21st century communications infrastructure.

Within these foci, please select 1 of the 6 topical areas for the 2024 project year. Not sure if your project fits? Please send questions to Jenan Jondy at 

1.  Sustainable Infrastructure: What are the important tasks communities need to undertake to transition to sustainable infrastructure / mobility systems. What would this look like? What local governance capabilities will be required to begin this process? 

2. Equitable Economic Development: What models exist, or potential models, that can show positive outcomes for linking persons who are now being left out of the economy to jobs that may exist locally/regionally? 

3. Investing in Michigan Business: Access to capital is critical to business growth. What investment models exist in the U.S. (or elsewhere) that could encourage large publicly managed investment funds like pensions, endowments, and others to be available investments in Michigan-based companies? 

4. Effective Referrals and Collaborations: Identify highly effective regional referral models that are impactful and replicable in connecting local small businesses to needed resources enabling their growth

5. Circular Economies: What are local governments defining as their community's circularity needs, such as recycling? How do communities overcome challenges when there are minimum financial resources to carry out circularity plans? What profitable models exist? If none, what steps to set up a market where factors are conducive to circularity might be possible?

6. Other


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