UM-Dearborn’s iLabs’ eCities Research Recognizes Saginaw for Developing a Positive Entrepreneurial Climate

UM-Dearborn’s iLabs’ eCities Research Recognizes Saginaw for Developing a Positive Entrepreneurial Climate Main Photo

10 Nov 2017

Saginaw is one of four communities across the state of Michigan to 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 cities of Dexter, Saginaw, Sturgis and Tecumseh for their successes and efforts in contributing to Michigan’s growth.

“The City of Saginaw is committed to working with businesses to create jobs and reinvent our city. We value the developers, the state and their efforts, Saginaw Future, and all of our partners striving to make the city successful.” -- Timothy Morales, Saginaw City Manager.

“Our partnership with the City, Chamber, DDA and private businesses has really led to positive investment projects and entrepreneurial initiatives,” said JoAnn Crary, President of Saginaw Future. “We’ve seen more investment in the past three years than the last twenty combined and it’s a tribute to working together and finding creative ways to encourage new development.

The eCities study analyzed publicly available data from 277 communities from 54 counties in Michigan. Researchers focused on the five-year changes in property values, community assets and tax rates, which can demonstrate the growth, investments, and cost of doing business within the community. For example, over the five-year period, these communities increased their capital assets by an average of 2 percent per year by purchasing public safety equipment and improving sidewalks and other infrastructure.

“While accounting for only about 15 percent of the cities and townships in Michigan, the 277 communities analyzed are home to nearly 70 percent of the population and 85 percent of the state’s commercial property,” Tim Davis, iLabs Director, said. “By analyzing these high-performing communities, our goal is to showcase what cities and townships are doing to spur growth and how we can continue to support their efforts in developing business and encouraging entrepreneurs.”

Additionally, 37 communities, including Saginaw, answered optional, open-ended questions about their development objectives, unique community features, and recent successes.

“Reviewers found that the most compelling community stories came from those who understand the importance of a diverse community and business community, recognize their unique features and can connect how those features can attract talent,” Davis said.

“In many cases, these communities are able to further use their unique assets and diversity to create an environment that allows a prospective business to see why their firm could succeed there.”

The communities—as well as 184 communities named five- and four-star performers—will be recognized Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 during the eCities Panel Discussion , which will discuss how talent, business policy and access to capital have impacted community growth in Michigan. The panel, moderated by DBusiness Magazine and DBusiness Daily News editor R.J. King, will feature Beth Ardisana, CEO, ASG Renaissance; Antonio Luck, managing director, Endeavor Detroit; Anthony Tomczak, chief procurement officer, DTE Energy; and Amelia Zamir, cofounder and principal of acquisitions, Method Development. The event is free, but registration through the UM-Dearborn College of Business website ( is required.

The annual eCities research project, which began in 2007, previously used data supplied by the participants. This year’s shift to reviewing publicly available data was implemented to simplify the process for communities.

For more information regarding iLabs’ eCities research project, contact Tim Davis, Director, iLabs at or 313.593.4060.