REI E-Update

June, 2016

2015 REI Summit attendees watching a presentation
Save the date for the 5th annual REI Summit!
Wednesday, September 7 * Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center * East Lansing

Share, Learn, Create Innovative Economic Development Ideas!

"A diverse and dynamic network developing innovative economic development ideas, tools, models, policies, and practices for Michigan."

In This Issue


We Need Your Ideas!

Have a great idea to jump-start Michigan's economy? Submit it on our website. Our network then helps us determine which ideas to fund and research.

Flint Projects

Aquaponics group in Flint

CCED in Flint

Bob Brown of CCED Flint has been involved with the rehabilitation of Flint long before the water crisis, but now more than ever he is working with the community to educate and work towards solutions. He is working to combat direct and underlying causes and issues that come along with this kind of tragedy, including racism, public distrust, and a decreased tax base. One large project that is currently in progress is the construction of the "Flint Aquaponic Network". This commitment to community food investment involves turning an abandoned house into an aquaponic crop growing facility. CCED Flint is also helping to organize a aquaponics study group to optimize the community benefit from this sustainable food operation. 
Image of Flint City Pop-Up event

Flint City Pop-Up

Joel Rash organizes the Youth Entrepreneurship and Flint City Pop-Ups project headed up by Red Ink Flint and Metro Community Development. This initiative focuses on creating a pipeline for entrepreneurial youth with multiple entry points and several outcomes. The education and support program will target high school students and disconnected 16- to 24-year-olds who are interested in starting their own businesses. Flint City Pop-Up will engage the more advanced youth entrepreneurs, as well as start-ups in the community who will benefit from intermediary step of having a temporary space to do business in.
Upcoming Events:

Upcoming Events

Save the Date: 2016 Innovate Michigan! Summit

Video thumbnail showing Joel Rash and John Schweitzer

Save the date! The 5th annual Innovate Michigan! Summit will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. Attendees will hear speakers talk about innovative economic development tools, models, policies, programs, and practices. Learn how REI and its partners are achieving small wins with big impacts and gain a more complete view of the economic climate in Michigan and the driving forces behind it.

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Are You An Inventor? Michigan Inventors Coalition Sign

REI and the Michigan Inventors Coalition are looking for Michigan garage, barn, and basement inventors to share their innovative products and services at the next MIC Expo. Attendees will meet other garage, barn, and basement inventors, and hear about their latest inventions, see their products, and find out how the discovery-to-market process works in Michigan.

If you are interested in exhibiting or would like more information, please contact Leandra Williams (

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2016 EDA Showcase EDA Logo

Join the Chicago Regional Office of the US Department of Commerce - Economic Development Administration at its annual University Center Showcase highlighting the EDA-supported University Center economic development initiatives in the 6 - state region of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The event will feature presentations from representatives of seven university centers including:
Picture from a previous EDA Conference
Credit: Caller Times


Co-Learning Plans

To learn about this year's Co-Learning Plans, click here. The authors of these research initiatives are analyzing and identifying new strategies to support economic growth in Michigan's regional ecosystems.

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Student-Led Faculty-Guided Projects

Two Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Projects are still in progress. Read the descriptions below and stay tuned for the recommendations and results from each project:

  • Net Zero Hybridized Infrastructure Implementation Project, Lawrence Technological University
    • sw[LAB] NZE project is designed to be a replicable prototype for SWLA and other DPS schools to generate renewable energy, conserve and manage water, and reinforce sustainability lesson plans that engage children and train community members through active learning. The project features an energy farm, learning gardens, and outdoor classroom with photovoltaic energy and rainwater collection systems.
  • West Pulaski Aquahouse Project, Kettering University
    • The project is based around re-purposing abandoned houses into semi-subterranean greenhouses and aquaponics which is the integration of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) in a water-circulating, soil-free system.

Read more 

REI Impact: Successful Projects Throughout Michigan

Frankfort Pier Safety Sign

City of Frankfort Beach Infrastructure Plan

Frankfort is located in the Northwest portion of the lower peninsula of Michigan, in Benzie County, and is a popular tourist destination in the summer months. Frankfort thrives on tourism with only 63.8% of the homes used as permanent residences. A team of four Michigan State University students in collaboration with the City of Frankfort Superintendent Joshua Mills, over the course of the 2013 Academic Spring Semester, created a Frankfort beach infrastructure assessment study.
Update: The City of Frankfort has moved forward with nearly every recommendation from the MSU practicum report. Improvements are bring performed via budget control, procuring grants, and securing funds through crowdfunding. The MSU study results were rolled into an updated Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the City of Frankfort. The city has established a committee that is made up of members of their Planning Commission, Recreation Board, DDA and City Council in order to further investigate the Lake Michigan Beach area and Cannon Park. The primary discussion incorporates the recommendations provided in the MSU practicum report. In 2014 and 2015, Cannon Park underwent a complete landscape renovation project with a sidewalk constructed brick paver surrounding the cannon. Also, the summer of 2015 was the inaugural launch of the bus shuttle service to minimize the parking issues throughout the Main Street corridor. The bus shuttle service will continue through 2016.


Discovery to Market

Check out our most recent video; Discovery to Market! This short video highlights the impact makerspaces can have on communities and the opportunities they provide to entrepreneurs in the beginning stages.
Discovery to Market Screenshot
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