Economic Development Organizations


The URC grew it’s economic impact in Michigan by more than 50% since FY 2006. Contributing $19.3 billion to the state economy in FY 2019, the URC is one of the nation’s top research clusters and the engine for innovation in Michigan and the Great Lakes region, increasing economic prosperity and connecting Michigan to the world. Each of the partners works closely with economic development partners at the regional, state and national levels and led to the establishment of major economic development organizations designed to attract new industries and jobs to their regions.

The URC works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to support state-level economic development activities, such as marketing the state and administering programs to grow innovation, talent and entrepreneurship, through the coordination of university data, expertise and resources. Similarly, the URC partners with the Michigan Economic Development Association (MEDA), a statewide membership organization dedicated to advancing economic development throughout Michigan, to raise awareness of the URC as an asset and expand access to university resources among regional economic development organizations. 

All three URC university presidents are members of Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable dedicated to making Michigan a Top Ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. The organization is composed exclusively of the executive leaders of Michigan’s largest companies and universities. Members drive nearly 40 percent of the state’s economy, generate over $1 trillion in annual revenue and educate nearly half of all Michigan public university students. 

With respect to Michigan's largest industry, the URC partners with the MEDC's Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) and MICHAuto, the state's only automotive and mobility cluster association based at the Detroit Regional Chamber to promote, retain and grow Michigan's signature industry. The OFME works across state government, academia and private industry to enhance Michigan’s mobility ecosystem, including developing dynamic mobility and electrification policies and supporting the startup and scale up of emerging technologies and businesses. 

In Southeast Michigan, the URC partners closely with the Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP), an economic development nonprofit dedicated to promoting an 11-county region by focusing on marketing to out-of-state and international companies, attracting investment to the region, and sharing the Greater Detroit Region's story with the world.

At the national level, the URC partners with the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI), a national nonprofit focused on technology-based economic development that is committed to strengthening initiatives to create a better future through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

U-M helped establish Ann Arbor SPARK, an economic development and marketing organization for greater Ann Arbor, in 2005. For more than 10 years, Ann Arbor SPARK has served the greater Ann Arbor region as a catalyst for economic development by building awareness of the region as a destination for business and manufacturing development and growth. 

MSU is an investor and board member of the Lansing Area Economic Partnership (LEAP), the economic development organization representing the tri-county region of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties  LEAP is a private-public partnership governed by a board of directors including business and municipal leaders from across the tri-county region.

TechTown Detroit was founded in 2000 by Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health System and General Motors. Originally founded to support tech-based spinoffs from the university, they found their incubation and acceleration strategies for tech companies could help strengthen neighborhood small businesses and commercial corridors across Detroit. TechTown’s community is a community of entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, service providers and corporate partners works in close partnership with Wayne State’s Office of Economic Development, the university’s hub for catalyzing business activity in Midtown and across the Detroit region. Spanning 12 city blocks, the incubator provides the support and access to capital needed to build high tech companies.

Related Content