The 2021 Annual Report details last year’s successes and major milestones for entrepreneurial services, business development, talent attraction, marketing, and a2Tech360.
For more than 15 years, Ann Arbor SPARK has served the greater Ann Arbor region as a catalyst for economic development. We accomplish this by building awareness of the region as a community that advocates for business and manufacturing development and growth. Our team of experts attracts, develops, strengthens, and invests in driving industries to help our communities prosper.
SPARK partners with and represents local municipalities in order to support and enhance their economic development efforts, which allows them access to national site selectors and international exposure, the benefit of regional marketing efforts, and superior project management support. SPARK reports on its successes and challenges to local economic development staff and to city councils.
While Ann Arbor SPARK’s core programs are designed for companies and individuals primarily located in Washtenaw County, the organization’s support extends to the six-county Greater Ann Arbor Region (GAAR) which includes Jackson, Lenawee, Monroe, Livingston, and Hillsdale counties.
Economic development requires collaboration, and SPARK is committed to bringing together partners — like the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Works! Southeast, city and municipal partners, academic institutions, and others — to support the growth of companies and the creation of jobs.
Ann Arbor SPARK will advance the economy of the Ann Arbor region by establishing it as a desired place for innovation, business location and growth, and for talented people to live and work. The Ann Arbor region will be recognized for its academic, business, and community resources, and its collaborative culture.
- The continuation of SPARK’s leadership through existing programs and facilities, and in collaboration with the LDFA, the University of Michigan, and partner organizations to work towards capturing 100% of the potential startup and early-stage company growth.
- Identify, educate, and support angel investment to provide important resources for startups with an emphasis on support for women and minority-led enterprises.
- Attracting new companies that “fit” our region and grow those already here, advancing our existing and emerging clusters, and the opportunities for existing talent within the community and attracting new talent here.
- Continuing to expand a2Tech360 as a showcase of our high-tech companies and the career opportunities they represent.
- Broad efforts to encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion across all dimensions of our community.
Read Ann Arbor SPARK’s 2022 Strategic Plan
Meet Our Board
As business and community leaders, we are proud advocates of SPARK’s mission. As board members, we support the organization’s pursuit of open source economic development and its engagement in regional and statewide collaboration with public, private, and non-profit partners to advance the Ann Arbor region, southeast Michigan, the State of Michigan, and the nation. Full list of 2022-2023 Board of Directors.
Commitment to Sustainability
It is clear that the world is undergoing a sea change in how people work, where they live, and what they value. The pandemic has exacerbated economic inequities and made progress on environmental sustainability more difficult. Collaboration across our core region and southeast Michigan has never been more important. Environmental sustainability is one area where we partner with regional organizations to help make an impact. Here are a few of SPARK’s recent collaborations:
- 2022: Ann Arbor SPARK joined the Shared Mobility Action Agenda. Advancing shared mobility is one way for us to help grow our community’s assets and services while also responding to climate change challenges and social disparities.
- 2020: Ann Arbor SPARK signed up to participate in DTE’s MIGreenPower voluntary renewable energy program to reduce its carbon footprint.
- 2019: Ann Arbor SPARK is an A2ZERO community collaborator. A2ZERO is the framework for the city’s efforts to be carbon neutral, community-wide, by 2030.
Ann Arbor SPARK is a non-profit organization with a mission to help generate prosperity and growth for its communities through economic development. We do this by providing value and resources to innovative businesses that propel our economy forward. With your support, we can provide more services, build greater awareness, and promote the innovative business culture and entrepreneurial ecosystem that sets our region apart. Support SPARK today.