City named among best in state for entrepreneurs

DEARBORN – The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research (iLabs) last week unveiled a list of the 55 most entrepreneur-friendly cities in Michigan.

Among them was Dearborn, earning a four-out-of-five star community rating through the program known as eCities for its efforts to promote investment in the community and for its support of businesses pursuing innovative endeavors.

The eCities research surveyed more than 100 communities in the state of Michigan that are home to 128,242 entrepreneurs, earning $3.4 billion in annual income. Those communities also had $1.2 billion in commercial development last year and account for nearly half the state’s commercial property.

Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said the four-star designation reflects the city’s commitment to fostering a vibrant and diversified economy.

“Dearborn has a history of promoting economic development, and in these challenging times, we know it is even more important to continue to pursue entrepreneurs and commercial investments,” O’Reilly said in a statement. “We appreciate this distinguished recognition of our efforts.”

The annual eCities research project uses date supplied by the participants, as well as other public records, to assemble a six-factor, 30-item index to encourage entrepreneurial activity. The factors are clustering, incentives, growth, policies, community and education.

The study focuses on entrepreneurships because of their importance to expansion and diversification of Michigan’s regional economies, and because of the impact small businesses have on job creation.

“We are pleased to have participation from so many communities throughout the state in eCities 2010,” iLabs Director Tim Davis said in a statement. “The focus of this project is assisting local communities by identifying best practices and methods that they can implement, which will aid with job growth strategies, economic diversification and development of entrepreneurship.”