In The Zone - OU INC

Courtney Overbey

Thursday, May 21, 2020

On this episode of "In The Zone," Client Strategist Steve Kent provides an inside look at Oakland University's SmartZone, OU INC. In collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the City of Rochester Hills and various community and industry partners, OU INC provides strategic business solutions and entrepreneurial resources to companies specializing in medical devices, health sciences, advanced manufacturing, advanced technology and alternative energy.

OU INC is an International Business Innovation Association-certified international soft-landing site, meaning it provides high-tech startups and entrepreneurs looking to expand into international markets with unique programs, services and visibility. To date, OU INC has supported companies from Italy, Denmark, Germany, Canada, Greece, Ireland and the U.K.

Currently, OU INC houses 14 tenant clients and 13 affiliate clients—those clients who do not rent a working space. The SmartZone attracts clients in a variety of ways, including referrals from the MEDC, the Small Business Association of Michigan, Oakland County and Oakland University. In total, 66 high-tech companies have been created through OU INC, and 85 provisional, pending and awarded patents have gone through this SmartZone since its inception in 2012.

OU INC’s 33,000-square-foot space—coined the barn—offers both office and light industrial space for rent along with multiple conference rooms and co-working spaces free for use by all tenant and affiliate clients when working on their high-tech innovations.

Since 2012, startups receiving support from this SmartZone have generated more than $49 million for Michigan’s economy and have created and retained more than 1,000 jobs. In the last year alone, OU INC’s economic impact was more than $14 million, including more than 300 new or retained jobs.

With funding from the MEDC, SmartZones like OU INC help tenants fast-track their business concepts from ideation into commercialization by providing them the resources they need to grow.

If you have a high-tech startup idea you’d like to explore further and don’t know where to start, contact the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative at 888-522-0103 or visit

Contact Us

To contact a business development specialist, click here or call 1.888.522.0103.