Can you describe what SPARK does to promote economic development?
Ann Arbor SPARK promotes Washtenaw and Livingston counties as a destination for innovation. We do this by amplifying the stories of entrepreneurial and business achievements from the region. Additionally, to support a culture of success, we offer entrepreneurs and businesses a variety of services that can help companies solve specific business challenges that may impede an organization’s growth. From talent attraction and retention to business incubation and acceleration, we work with range a of public and private partners at the state and local level to provide these services.
How does SPARK support entrepreneurs?
Ann Arbor SPARK operates two business incubators in Washtenaw County: The SPARK Central Innovation Center in downtown Ann Arbor and the SPARK East Innovation Center in downtown Ypsilanti. These business incubators provide affordable office space and business support services to startups. Additional services include connecting entrepreneurs to mentors and business consultants to help with marketing, financial planning, investor pitch preparation, and access to other expertise that would otherwise be unaffordable to these startup businesses.
LDFA funding goes towards our business incubators. Learn more about the LDFA.
How does Ann Arbor SPARK work with state and local incentives?
State and local incentives are tools that SPARK can use to attract a business to this region, or convince a company to stay here and expand versus choosing another destination for growth. We help companies applying for these programs through project management and process facilitation.
How does SPARK work with Livingston County?
SPARK has a contractual partnership with the Economic Development Council of Livingston County (EDCLC) to provide economic development services to businesses in the area. The EDCLC Board oversees the work that Ann Arbor SPARK does to advance the economy of Livingston County. This partnership leverages project-based and strategic economic development services in the region through proactive outreach to local businesses in Livingston County that result in value-added services and connections.
You can read more about our work in Livingston County through our Livingston portal, which includes information on: Livingston County Data and Metrics, a map of successful projects, Livingston County Entrepreneurial Services, Livingston Economic Action Plan, and other information.