Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone Awarded 15 Year Funding Extension by State of Michigan

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AUGUST 7, 2017 – ANN ARBOR, MICH. – The Michigan Department of Treasury recently awarded a 15-year funding extension to the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone, which is managed by the Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA), a volunteer board approved the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti City Councils. The funding and services are designated to support entrepreneurial activity in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

The Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone was one of only three SmartZones in Michigan whose funding was renewed for a 15-year period.

“The SmartZone funding extension acknowledges the LDFA is meeting the state’s expectations for helping early stage companies establish themselves and grow,” said Howard Lazarus, Ann Arbor’s city administrator. Considering the number of high tech companies that have started here and continue to invest in our community, there’s no doubt that the entrepreneurial activity happening here is a positive impact on our economy. This funding extension ensures the long-term sustainability of our successful model of helping entrepreneurs succeed.”

The Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone activities include providing startups with business acceleration and incubator services, creating networking opportunities, and leading talent attraction and retention efforts.

Over the last 13 years of SmartZone funding, 657 Ann Arbor-based startup companies were served, who in turn created 646 jobs.  These same companies received $61.7 million in grant funding for critical services, such as legal, accounting, sales, and business development, and raised $248 million of private investment.

Funding for the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti SmartZone – state dollars calculated locally to specifically support economic development - is managed by the LDFA board, which is monitored be the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The LDFA determines the annual program under the terms of the contract with the State of Michigan. The LDFA contracts Ann Arbor SPARK to administer the services required of the contract. 

“Startups play a significant role in making sure there’s a diversity of businesses and jobs here,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO, Ann Arbor SPARK. “The SmartZone extension, along with LDFA’s partnership with Ann Arbor SPARK, ensures startups will continue to receive the guidance, expertise, and support that helps this area stand apart as a destination for opportunity.”

“We’re pleased to partner with the LDFA as a part of our comprehensive regional economic development public-private-academic partnership,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “Over time, our work through the SPARK Central Innovation Center in downtown Ann Arbor and SPARK East in Ypsilanti has evolved to keep in step with the demands of these entrepreneurial endeavors – the addition of incubator space for ‘second stage’ startups, for example.”