U-M Dearborn names Livonia, Wixom top biz cities

University of Michigan-Dearborn's Center for Innovation Research, commonly known as iLabs, has named Livonia and Wixom as two of the seven top-performing communities at fostering entrepreneurial growth and economic development in its eCities 2010 study.

These top performers were recognized for their ability to communicate with businesses and capitalize on that ability to listen with their entrepreneurial programs. For instance, 94 percent of the businesses surveyed by iLabs said they wanted to be contacted by their local government. However, local officials have not reached out to a third of them.

"We approached it as the cities as businesses and the businesses as their customers," says Tim Davis, director of iLabs. "That left a lot of cities scratching their heads."

That wasn't the case with Livonia and Wixom. The two suburbs both had business programs that focused on communications. Livonia's Business Ambassador program leveraged the city's mid-sized firms to find smaller companies and reach out to them so it could create a more hospitable entrepreneurial ecosystem. Wixom created an online networking hub that created a number of synergies and lines of communications between both businesses and the local government.

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

Source: Tim Davis, director of iLabs
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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