Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) President and CEO James C. Epolito today joined state, local and Lake Superior State University officials to announce a new SmartZone in Sault Ste. Marie. 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 Sault Ste. Marie SmartZone is the latest addition to the network of 15 SmartZone technology clusters around the state. Supported by Lake Superior State University and officials from the city of Sault Ste. Marie, the zone will stimulate the growth of regional technology-based companies. It will focus on injection-molded plastics, precision machined surgical tools, precision bearings and electronic manufacturers, and robotics.
“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 Sault Ste. Marie 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 is very exciting news,” said James Hendricks, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. “This partnership between the city of Sault Ste. Marie and Lake Superior State University is going to help launch our technology sector into the 21st century. We’re extremely enthusiastic about the outcome.”
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 at www.MichiganBusiness.org.
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