Ann Arbor SPARK helps companies looking to grow, expand, or relocate find a space that suits their needs. From work environments at the SPARK Central Innovation Center in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor to commercial real estate options throughout the region, Ann Arbor SPARK has the resources and connections to facilitate your site selection.
With a network of pre-eminent institutions, the Ann Arbor region is an established destination for research and development initiatives.
The compilation of tech industries and academic powerhouses makes Ann Arbor a key player in research and development. On the national scale, Ann Arbor is ranked as one of the most educated cities in America with some of the best universities leading the way. The University of Michigan alone spends $1.6B in research and development annually ranking first among public universities nationally for R&D.
R&D efforts across the state are spearheaded by the University Research Corridor, a university alliance between the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University devoted to the economic prosperity of the region. In the past ten years, the region has fostered more than 249 startup companies and continues to be a national trailblazer even above competitive regions like the North Carolina research triangle and Silicon Valley.
State-of-the-art research facilities exist at top-tier companies in the Ann Arbor region and continue to drive innovation. Mobility leaders with long-term roots in the area such as Toyota Motor North America, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz all house advanced research and development centers. The German-owned chemical company, Wacker, opened its Silicones R&D Center at the co-work campus of the Michigan Innovation Headquarters (MI-HQ). Additionally, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs houses one of 18 national R&D centers at the VA Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR).
Ann Arbor SPARK Services and Resources
Business Development and Site Selector Services
Ann Arbor SPARK works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan Works! Southeast, local municipalities, and other partners to facilitate business location and growth within the region. Our team can help make meaningful connections as well as identify office space and the skilled talent you need to achieve your goals.
Startup and Business Acceleration Resources
The SPARK entrepreneurial services team works closely with early-stage startups to expedite their success. A reliable advocate to help founders navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem, SPARK offers desk space at our incubators in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, business accelerator grants to help achieve significant product development milestones, and mentoring opportunities with the area’s experienced business leaders. We’ve also teamed up with the Michigan Small Business Development Center to help our qualified clients apply for the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund.
In addition to avenues for funding, SPARK initiatives promote collaborative programs in the region. For example, a2Tech360 is an annual weeklong series of events, featuring the region’s companies and leaders. Included in the lineup is the opportunity for angel investors and venture capitalists to hear pitches from early-stage startups during Invest360: Investor Showcase.
Recent Industry Projects in Southeast Michigan
- Wacker Releases ‘Virtual Groundbreaking’ of New Ann Arbor-based Innovation Center at Regional Headquarters
- U-M, Ford open world-class robotics complex
- Ann Arbor Development Expands Plans for Flex Tech Building
- $7.1M investment to bring 266 jobs to the Ann Arbor area
Regional R&D Employers
|Company Name||Regional Employees||R&D Field|
|Toyota Motor North America Research and Development (TMNA R&D)||1,400+||Advanced Automotive|
|Terumo Cardiovascular Group||1,100||Life Sciences|
|Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Proving Grounds||680+||Advanced Automotive|
|Hyundai America Technical Center||250||Advanced Automotive|
|NSK Americas, Inc.||300+||Advanced Automotive|
|Wacker North American Headquarters||16||Advanced Materials|
|Navitas Advanced Solutions Group||170||Alternative Energy|
|Mitsubishi Motors R&D||28||Advanced Automotive|
|Mercedes-Benz Emission Test Lab||40||Advanced Automotive|
|American Center for Mobility||7+||Advanced Automotive|
|Arbor Research Collaborative for Health||105||Life Sciences|
|A&D Technology, Inc.||100||Advanced Automotive|
|IMRA America, Inc.||78||Advanced Automotive|
|AVL Ann Arbor Technical Center||60||Advanced Automotive|
Apply to Join our Startup Incubator
A member of the Ann Arbor SPARK entrepreneurial services team will be in touch to discuss how we can help bring your idea to life. This is the first step in participating in our Entrepreneur Boot Camp, becoming a client of one of our incubators, and getting introduced to our growing network of mentors and consultants. We can’t wait to connect with you!