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UM-Dearborn’s iLabs’ eCities research recognizes City of Dexter for developing a positive entrepreneurial climate

(Dexter, MI), November 7, 2017 – The City of Dexter is one of four communities across the state of Michigan to have been identified for the strategies they employ to foster entrepreneurial growth and economic development, according to the annual eCities study. The study, conducted by iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research, identified the cities of Dexter, Saginaw, Sturgis and Tecumseh for their successes and efforts in contributing to Michigan’s growth.

Upon hearing the news, Mayor Shawn Keough said, “It is truly an honor for the City of Dexter to be recognized by eCities.  We try very hard each day to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and to promote economic growth in a manner that is transparent, consistent and good for the long term interest of the City of Dexter, as well as our neighboring communities around us.   On behalf of all our staff, consultants, volunteer citizens and council, I want to express my gratitude and thanks to those at eCities and the University of Michigan for this recognition.   This recognition is the result of a lot of people working together over a long period of time.  We look forward to seeing you around our town.” 

The eCities study analyzed publicly available data from 277 communities from 54 counties in Michigan. Researchers focused on the five-year changes in property values, community assets and tax rates, which can demonstrate the growth, investments and cost of doing business within the community. For example, over the five-year period, these communities increased their capital assets by an average of 2 percent per year by purchasing public safety equipment and improving sidewalks and other infrastructure.

“While accounting for only about 15 percent of the cities and townships in Michigan, the 277 communities analyzed are home to nearly 70 percent of the population and 85 percent of the state’s commercial property,” Davis said. “By analyzing these high-performing communities, our goal is to showcase what cities and townships are doing to spur growth and how we can continue to support their efforts in developing business and encouraging entrepreneurs.”

Additionally, 37 communities, including the City of Dexter, answered optional, open-ended questions about their development objectives, unique community features and recent successes.

“Reviewers found that the most compelling community stories came from those who understand the importance of a diverse community and business community, recognize their unique features and can connect how those features can attract talent,” Davis said. “In many cases, these communities are able to further use their unique assets and diversity to create an environment that allows a prospective business to see why their firm could succeed there.”

The communities—as well as 184 communities named five- and four-star performers—will be recognized Tuesday, Nov. 14, during the eCities Panel Discussion, which will discuss how talent, business policy and access to capital have impacted community growth in Michigan. The panel, moderated by DBusiness Magazine and DBusiness Daily News editor R.J. King, will feature Beth Ardisana, CEO, ASG Renaissance; Antonio Luck, managing director, Endeavor Detroit; Anthony Tomczak,  chief procurement officer, DTE Energy; and Amelia Zamir, co-founder and principal of acquisitions, Method Development. The event is free, but registration through the UM-Dearborn College of Business website ( is required.

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The annual eCities research project, which began in 2007, previously used data supplied by the participants. This year’s shift to reviewing publicly available data was implemented to simplify the process for communities.


About the City of Dexter

The City of Dexter is located in Southeast Michigan, along the banks of the Huron River and Mill Creek.  A walk through the unique, historic downtown offers visitors the opportunity to experience nostalgic small town America only minutes from Ann Arbor and Detroit.

The City of Dexter has emerged as a regional entertainment, cultural and recreational destination; a dynamic place to live, work and enjoy.  The downtown features an assortment of restaurants, retails shops and galleries that, together with a beautiful streetscape and award winning Mill Creek Park, contribute to a pedestrian friendly and enhanced shopping experience.

The City of Dexter took a proactive approach to economic development; first by developing a long term economic enhancement strategy, and then through its commitment to work with businesses wanting to expand or locate in the City.  Since 2009, businesses have invested over $50M in real and personal property, retained 797 jobs, and created 218 new jobs, in the City.

For more information about the City of Dexter, please contact Michelle Aniol, Community Development Manager at 734-429-8303 or


About University of Michigan-Dearborn

Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The university has 9,100 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education and health programs. A top-ranked university with faculty devoted to teaching and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn is shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.


eCities homepage and registration for panel discussion:

List of all five-star communities:

List of all four-star communities:



Beth Marmarelli / 313-593-5542