A look back on this week’s economic development headlines, announcements, and other share-worthy news from the Ann Arbor region.
Regional News and Successes
CHI Aviation is expanding in Howell Township. CHI provides Chinook helicopters and are used to lift heavy equipment, fight fires, and do work with the DoD. In addition to assisting with this expansion, Ann Arbor SPARK has helped the company develop a strong relationship with federal leadership.
From the blog, SPARK’s takeaways from the Swisher’s annual vacancy report. It’s amazing to see the shift to a 4.9 percent vacancy in south Ann Arbor after being in the double digits for the past two years.
The Detroit Policy Conference was held on Wednesday, and Mary Culler, president of the Ford Motor Fund, discussed Ford’s vision for a mobility corridor between Ann Arbor and Corktown, with U-M, EMU, ACM, and DTW along the way.
Two signals this week indicate big automotive’s focus on developing electric vehicles, which could indicate their bet that consumers will want and will buy more EVs: GM to build EVs in Michigan and BorgWarner buys Delphi to get access to their EV tech.
Entrepreneurial Ecosystem News
The Michigan Angel Fund closed its fourth fund with $2 million and already made investments in Akadeum Life Sciences, Ripple Science, and SkySpecs.
SPARK published an Ann Arbor Startup Ecosystem 101 eBook this week including notable startup exits; lists of startups in mobility, life science, and technology; and startup origin stories.
The second annual Women Who Launch Symposium was held last Friday at Ross Business School. The event focuses on representation in venture capital.
- Tom Stanek joins as President of RXA (Yahoo News)
- 1940s Dexter factory given new life with brewery, shared office space on the way (MLive)
- How can pedestrians trust autonomous vehicles (U-M Engineering)
- Ann Arbor named fourth most fitness-friendly city for 2020 (A4)
- February 4: A2 BioSocial
- February 12: The Launch Pad Mixer | Washtenaw’s Summer Internship Initiative
Food for Thought
The Citizens Research Council, Fifth Third Bank, and Citizens Bank released a report this week about overcoming barriers for the underemployed. Some of the key takeaways include:
- The existing workforce system is too dependent on antiquated federal funding models that don’t address existing population realities.
- Going Pro gets a nod as a move in the right direction, but that’s the only program that wasn’t funded this year in the state’s budget.
- We need to measure the health of the workforce differently, including measures like workforce participation rate, the number of people underemployed, and more — instead of unemployment rate.
- Ann Arbor’s TheRide and the Livingston Essential Transportation Service (LETS) are mentioned as innovative transportation services.
From the New York Times: A $100 Million Bet That Vacationland Can Be a Tech Hub, Too