A campaign to attract businesses to the Greater Ann Arbor Region is yielding terrific results, including more than $361 million in new investment and the creation of 2,930 new jobs. Efforts to keep businesses in the Greater Ann Arbor Region, and help them grow here, have resulted in the retention of more than 1,200 jobs.
“The Greater Ann Arbor Region collaboration is a great way to position our assets in the global competition for jobs and investment,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “Each of the collaboration’s partners brings unique strengths, from infrastructure to workforce, that, when combined, create a compelling reason for a business to choose this region over anywhere else in the world. It’s exciting that we’re finally making a concentrated effort to promote those strengths as the sum of their parts.”
Last fall, six counties joined together to form the Greater Ann Arbor Region collaborative. In the last year, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw counties have worked together to attract businesses that are seeking a destination for relocation or expansion.
Since October, the Greater Ann Arbor Region collaborative launched a website that includes a robust suite of research data, available properties and other tools that businesses can use to evaluate location options. The website also features case studies of successful regional businesses, including VenTower of Monroe, C. Raker and Sons of Hillsdale, and NuStep of Ann Arbor. Activities also included a targeted email and social media marketing campaign to create awareness of the Greater Ann Arbor Region, and hosting site selectors for tours of the region.
“An important part of economic development is marketing. It’s an area where being part of the Greater Ann Arbor Region has really benefited Lenawee County and all of our county partners,” said Jim Van Doren, executive director of Lenawee Now. “Not only do we have our own efforts, but many times we can multiply our effect with a quick phone call to our economic development partners to help share our message. We gladly do the same for them. In the end, we all win!”
The unique marketing strategy leverages the strengths of each county while also promoting the assets of the broader region. These efforts, funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, target the manufacturing, life sciences, automotive, software, and IT industries.
To build on the success in the last year, the Greater Ann Arbor Region will use social media and face-to-face meetings at targeted conferences to continue to tout what it has to offer growing businesses. It will continue to use Twitter and LinkedIn to attract the attention of site selectors. Representatives from the collaboration are also attending conferences and tradeshows where they can meet with site selectors and promote the region.