UM-Dearborn’s iLabs’ eCities research recognizes 45 Michigan communities

Six 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 City of Farmington Hills, City of Grant Blanc, City of Hillsdale, City of Romulus, City of Sault Ste. Marie and City of Tecumseh for their strategies, innovative programs and best practices geared toward business development.
“The eCities project highlights how local governments from across the state of Michigan are cultivating and supporting economic development. These communities show how local governments can work in distinct and strategic ways to energize public spaces, while investing in businesses and job development,” said Tim Davis, director, iLabs.
Also, an additional 40 communities are recognized as five-and four-star performers.
Five-Star Communities (*denotes best practice community)


Five-star communities have commercial constructions worth over $875 million, having issued over 2000 construction permits. They have more than $29 billion in combined real and personal properties. They have more than $21 million in additions to assets in the past year and with about 10% of the employed population being self-employed. 


Ann Arbor Charter TownshipCascade Charter TownshipCharter Township of Meridian
City of Ann ArborCity of ColdwaterCity of Dexter 
City FarmingtonCity of GrandvilleCity of Madison Heights 
City of MarquetteCity of MidlandCity of Mount Pleasant 
City of NoviCity of Oak ParkCity of Romulus* 
City of Sault Ste. Marie*City of SturgisCity of Wixom 
Delta Charter TownshipKochville TownshipPittsfield Township 
Plymouth Township  

Four-Star Communities (*denotes best practice community)


Four-star communities has seen over $342 million in commercial construction which account for close to 50% of the total construction value and 16% of the construction permits. Additionally, they have additions to their assets worth more than $30 million. 68% of their population is over 25 years of age and 47% have attended some college. 
Bath Charter TownshipCharter Township of West BloomfieldCity of Adrian
City of DearbornCity of Farmington Hills*City of Grand Blanc*
City of LivoniaCity of MasonCity of Mount Clemens
City of Norton ShoresCity of PlymouthCity of Portage
City of Swartz CreekCity of Tecumseh*City of Trenton
City of YpsilantiComstock Charter TownshipFlint Charter Township
Northville Charter TownshipSaginaw Charter TownshipThomas Township
Village of OxfordVillage of Quincy 

The eCities study surveyed 76 communities from 25 counties in Michigan that are home to more than 22 percent of Michigan residents and 28 percent with at least a bachelor degree. These communities count for nearly one-fifth of the state’s entrepreneurs who earned more than $1.9 billion self-employed income in total. About 60 percent of these communities have a local business database, more than a quarter provide business improvement grants, and over 40 percent have full-time economic development employees.
“Through eCities, we are able to share tools that can be adapted for use by communities throughout Michigan,” Davis said. “We now have 10 years of data on the strategies and best practices communities are using to successfully attract and retain business.”
The communities were honored Wednesday, November 2, at UM-Dearborn. Support for eCities is provided in part by the DTE Energy Foundation, Comcast, Plante Moran 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, more than 200 communities across Michigan have participated in the study.
About University of Michigan-Dearborn?
Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The university has 9,100 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education and health programs. A top-ranked university with faculty devoted to teaching and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn is shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.