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Ann Arbor Spark

December 4, 2020

Weekly Rewind: Ann Arbor’s Business News Recap

A look back on this week’s economic development headlines, announcements, and other share-worthy news from the Ann Arbor region.

Upcoming Events

IASP Annual Meeting

The International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) held it’s 37th World Conference this past week (December 1 – 3).

As chair of the board of IASP, Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO Paul Krutko delivered the conference’s opening remarks. Explaining the importance of the work Ann Arbor SPARK and its peers do, Krutko said, “In the knowledge economy, people, talent, and skills are the most important asset we can nurture because that is what our companies need and our communities must be attractive and welcoming to talented individuals. Areas of innovation and science parks play a crucial role in providing the environments where people want to live and work and they contribute to the creation of vibrant, sustainable cities and communities. We have much to share with each other on how this happens.”

Komal Doshi, Ann Arbor SPARK’s director of mobility programs, spoke on the intersection of living labs and city engagement. Along with her panelists, Komal’s remarks focused on how creating human-centered living labs can attract and retain talent, as well as engage diverse stakeholders to enhance economic development in cities and regions. She shared how Ann Arbor is implementing a smart city approach to drive innovation and stimulate the creation, implementation, and validation of new ideas.

Regional Updates

  • SPARK published additional resources about Washtenaw and Livingston Opportunity Zones.
  • Michigan Works! Southeast launches a new podcast, with Executive Director Shamar Herron as host. First episode here, with Bill Sleight, outgoing director, as guest.

Food for Thought

  • Why Industries Don’t Get Disrupted Like They Used To
    “US corporations like GE, AT&T, and DuPont once funded major R&D operations that did basic and applied science. Their research labs helped bridge the gap between academic research and practical problems. Although corporate R&D spending has increased in recent decades, most of it now goes to near-term, incremental projects like product development rather than to scientific research”

Thanks to Brenda Jones from Kinetica Labs for this wonderful testimonial:

“When people ask about our story and how we were able to get traction so quickly, I point to the help we received from SPARK as a critical component. We even hired our second developer from a job posting on your website’s job board! As a company, we continue to “pay it forward.” I am now a mentor for Bootcamp, and I will be part of the teaching staff of AWE (Achieving Women Enterprise) in December.”