UM program ranks City of Tecumseh in top group for business climate

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Accepting the eCities award on Tuesday were (l-r): Paula Holtz, economic development director; Kevin Welch, city manager; Mayor Harvey Schmidt and Mayor Pro Tem Dick Johnson.

Tecumseh has been identified as one of seven top performing communities in the state of Michigan at fostering entrepreneurial growth and economic development in a study by researchers at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research (iLabs).

In addition to performing well in the numerical portions of eCities 2010, the seven top performing communities are recognized for innovative collaborations and programs that aid entrepreneurial growth. These communities demonstrate that they understand what small businesses need to be successful by communicating with them and providing connections to broader resources and insight on trends.

Tecumseh is being recognized for its business-to-business mentoring program, youth engagement activities, business advocacy programs and other innovative initiatives to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses.

In addition, 48 other communities across the State that performed well in eCities 2010 have been identified as five and four star communities.

Joining Tecumseh in the top seven performers group were: East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Jonesville, Livonia, Meridian Township, and Wixom.

The eCities research surveyed over 100 communities in the State of Michigan who are home to 128,242 entrepreneurs who earned $3.4 billion in income in annual income. These communities also had $1.2 billion in commercial development last year and account for nearly half the state’s commercial property.

“I am very proud of our community and pleased that we are being recognized with this great honor,” said Mayor Harvey Schmidt, himself a small business owner.   “Our local business and government leaders have been working hard to get the word out about our great city, our world-class workers and the excellent opportunities we have to offer companies looking to take root here. This recognition will help us attract even more businesses that will thrive and create jobs here in Tecumseh, while also serving as a model to help communities across the state boost their local economies.”

“We are pleased to have participation from so many communities throughout the state in eCities 2010,” said Tim Davis, director of iLabs. “The focus of this project is assisting local communities by identifying best practices and methods that they can implement which will aid with job growth strategies, economic diversification, and development of entrepreneurs.”

The communities were honored at a ceremony at UM-Dearborn on Tuesday, Oct. 19 with Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, providing the keynote address at the event.

The annual eCities research project, which began in 2007, uses data supplied by the participants as well as other public records to assemble a six-factor, 30-item index to encourage entrepreneurial activity, looking at such factors as clustering, incentives, growth, policies, community and education. The study focuses on entrepreneurship because of its importance to expansion and diversification of Michigan’s regional economies and the impact small businesses have on job creation.