Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) President and CEO James C. Epolito today joined state, local and Oakland University officials to announce a new SmartZone in Sterling Heights. The city won the designation following a competitive application process approved by the Legislature and administered by the MEDC. SmartZones are technology centers designated to promote resource collaborations between universities, industry, research organizations, government and other community institution, growing technology-based business and jobs.
“Growing high-tech businesses and jobs are critical to diversifying our economy and staying competitive in the global marketplace,” Epolito said. “I applaud state, county and local officials for working together to win this SmartZone and the innovative businesses it will support.”
The opening of the Macomb Technology Advancement SmartZone is the latest addition to the network of 15 SmartZone technology clusters around the state. Supported by Oakland University and local businesses, the zone will stimulate the growth of regional technology-based companies. It will focus on defense and advanced manufacturing through a series of projects which will bring in 12 new companies and create 130 new jobs over the next two years.
“High-tech initiatives like the SmartZones program enable our world-class colleges and universities to partner with communities and innovators to commercialize cutting-edge research into new businesses and jobs,” Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said. “This SmartZone will be a huge asset to Macomb County and Michigan.”
SmartZones were established to foster collaborations between industry and universities aimed at the commercialization of research. Since the inception of the SmartZones program in 2002, more than 845 businesses have located or expanded in the zones, resulting in more than 16,359 jobs and $1.1 billion in private investment.
“This gives Macomb County an additional tool in our arsenal to create business opportunities in defense,” said Steve Cassin, executive director of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. “We’ve beeninvolved in business retention, and now this gives us the opportunity to be involved in business creation.”
“Today’s announcement of a SmartZone designation for Sterling Heights is tremendous news for our city, county and state,” Sterling Heights Mayor Richard J. Notte said. “In such a precarious financial period, this announcement enhances Michigan’s economic development efforts and will further sustain the overall high-quality business environment that we in Sterling Heights have been able to methodically build. The Sterling Heights SmartZone and Oakland University Incubator promise to attract additional start-up, high-technology businesses that will be the key to long-term employment and economic growth in Sterling Heights.”
The 15 SmartZones throughout the state represent collaborations between universities, industry, research organizations, government and other community institutions intended to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs. The focus is on commercializing ideas, patents and other opportunities surrounding corporate, university or private research institute R&D efforts.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on MEDC initiatives and programs, visit the Web site atwww.MichiganBusiness.org.
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