December 11 2009/Great Lakes IT Report There are at least a couple of bright spots amid Michigan’s economic doldrums, and one of the brightest is the city of East Lansing.
Recently named to Entrepreneur magazine’s 2009 list of the 10 “Best College Towns to Start a Business” -- the only Michigan city to make the list -- East Lansing toasted its accomplishments last week with LAUNCHED, a celebration at the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center (TIC) business incubator.
“We know Michigan’s future is in the knowledge-based economy, and we’re working to make sure the East Lansing area is an important engine of that growth,” said East Lansing City Manager Theodore J. Staton. “Winning national recognition from Entrepreneur magazine is a great honor, affirming our hard work and inspiring us to reach even higher.”
The TIC, a business incubator for technology-based start-ups, opened its doors last December and is celebrating its one-year anniversary. It’s nearly at capacity, with 14 tenants -- and MSU Technologies and MSU Business-Connect, the tech transfer arms of Michigan State University, soon to move in.
“When considering East Lansing for our list of top college towns to start a business, it was obvious the city has put a lot of energy into nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation” said Amy Cosper, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine, who gave the champagne toast at the event. “With business incubators like the TIC and the Hatch, events like Ignite Lansing and strategies like their Cultural Economic Development plan, East Lansing had to be on our list.”
Added Sam Hogg, founder and CEO of GiftZip.com: “The collaborative space and resources available in the TIC have been great for sharing ideas with fellow entrepreneurs. Without spaces like the TIC, many of the business owners would still be working from home or perhaps not have even started a business.”
The magazine also considered the area’s other pace-setting innovations when making its decision. Together, these initiatives are a leading example of how Midwestern communities are working to grow their own high-tech businesses rather than attract outside companies:
* The Hatch – Co-working space for student entrepreneurs.
* Mid-Michigan Innovators Club of Entrepreneurs -- Forum for professionals looking to share ideas, explore networks for collaboration and find resources for new ideas.
* Ignite Lansing – Platform for individuals to demonstrate and present their creative passions in a speed-dating format.
* Cultural Economic Development Plan - A strategy outlining the strengths and limitations of the region, relative to culture, art, music and creativity.