October 20, 2010 – The City of Midland has been recognized for its work to foster entrepreneurial growth and economic development in a study by researchers at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research (iLabs).


The City of Midland was honored as a five-star community along with 27 other communities across the state of Michigan. 


The state-wide recognition is a result of iLabs’ annual eCities research project, which uses data supplied by survey participants as well as other public records to assemble a six-factor, 30-item index to encourage entrepreneurial activity.  Researchers look at such factors as clustering, incentives, growth, policies, community, and education. The study focuses on entrepreneurship because of its importance on expanding and diversifying Michigan’s regional economies and the impact small businesses have on job creation.


Midland was selected for this top honor because it utilizes its largest employers as a resource to encourage entrepreneurial firms. Through a partnership between the City, The Dow Chemical Company, and other business leaders, an incubator program has been developed that fosters development of complementary services and supply chain firms. CEOs from Midland’s major firms work together, marketing the area and bringing new business and employees to the region. Cooperation between the City, economic development partner Midland Tomorrow, and local schools has helped develop programs that will prepare tomorrow’s workforce for the future demands of industry.


iLabs’ findings support what Midland has been doing for many years – working to encourage new business and development in our community and the entire Great Lakes Bay Region,” said City Manager Jon Lynch. “We are proud to be considered a five-star community, and look forward to continuing positive growth in our community for years to come.”


The eCities research surveyed more than 100 Michigan communities that are home to 128,242 entrepreneurs who earned $3.4 billion in annual income. These communities also had $1.2 billion in commercial development last year and account for nearly half of the state’s commercial property.


“We are pleased to have participation from so many communities throughout the state,” said Tim Davis, director of iLabs. “The focus of this project is assisting local communities by identifying best practices and methods that they can implement which will aid with job growth strategies, economic diversification, and development of entrepreneurs.”


The communities were honored at a ceremony at UM-Dearborn on Tuesday, October 19 with Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, providing the keynote address.


For more information, contact Tim Davis at iLabs, or 313-593-4060, or Ryan Richards at Midland Tomorrow, or 989-839-0340