Michigan has been a magnet for innovative thinkers. Ransom Olds, John and Horace Dodge, Henry Leland, David Buick, Henry Joy, Charles King and Henry Ford all made their way to the Wolverine State, and the automotive industry exploded from these engineering nesting grounds. With that industry giant in the rearview, advanced manufacturing, software development, big data and other emerging technologies are taking root in Michigan, particularly in Ann Arbor.
Anchored by the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor has seen success developing second-stage entrepreneurial companies, many that launched from incubator and accelerator programs. Catalysts such as Ann Arbor SPARK, the region’s lead economic development organization, create a nurturing launch environment, offering programs that assist companies in finding capital, recruiting talent and connecting with customers and community partners.
After the incubation period, many of these companies remain in Ann Arbor. Through its Regional Incubator Network, SPARK operates innovation centers in downtown Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. The centers offer affordable lease rates, technical assistance and a collaborative environment for startups.