Blog: Mike Finney

Mike is president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. A passionate advocate for the transformation of Michigan's high-tech economy he also managed the MEDC’s $1 billion Michigan Life Sciences Corridor initiative between 2000 and 2002. Mike will be wriing about who's making a difference in the Michigan and why.

Post No. 4

 I caught you doing something right 

Eastern Leaders Group, building a culture to support entrepreneurs throughout the Ann Arbor Region…I spent Monday evening meeting with (at least) 20 Eastern Washtenaw County Civic Leaders to develop action plans for redevelopment of the east side. The effort aims to capitalize on the academic resources of Eastern Michigan University (EMU), the City of Ypsilanti’s historic district, and the east side "Gateway" to Washtenaw County.   

For its part, EMU will lead the effort to establish our K-12 school districts as being among the best in the nation. Given EMU’s reputation for graduating many of the best and brightest teachers in the nation, we have an opportunity to lead our state in graduating students who are prepared to pursue college degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). This is precisely the leadership that is needed if we are to maintain the academic and technological advantages we have enjoyed throughout our history.   

EMU, Washtenaw County, and Ann Arbor SPARK are also playing a lead role in establishing a business incubator in downtown Ypsilanti. Entrepreneurs often work from home, coffee shops, or anyplace else that meets their budget and technology needs. In many cases they settle for less than optimum facilities, technology, lease terms, and other business support resources. The vision for "SPARK East" includes reduced rents, robust business services, and networking opportunities that will allow entrepreneurs to build key business relationships. 

Ypsilanti is the Eastern Gateway to Washtenaw County. It’s proximity to the Detroit Metropolitan area; airports, arts and culture, talent and the Canadian border, make it a critical component in the long-term economic vitality of our region. And, let’s not forget the role our Eastern Gateway will play in the development of the planned Aerotropolis. The time is now, the leadership is motivated, let’s show our support as our Eastern Leaders endeavor to build a vibrant east side. 

- I caught you doing something right! 

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