Ann Arbor SPARK's sphere of influence is growing. The economic development accelerator agency has reached an agreement with Livingston County to provide business attraction and retention services for their community.
Paul Krutko, CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK
, describes Livingston County as a "talent shed for the region" that is centrally located between Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint and Detroit. He points out that such a partnership makes a lot of sense when it comes to growing a new economy that knows fewer and fewer boundaries everyday.
"We recognize the old parochial boundaries that are from the 18th Century ... are not how the 21st Century works," Krutko says. He adds that agencies similar to Ann Arbor SPARK in other states often stretch into multiple surrounding counties, sometimes into municipalities in other states.
Ann Arbor SPARK will have two employees working in Howell and Brighton that focus on advancing innovation-based economic development. Leading this effort on the ground is recently hired economic development professional Jay Bahr, who will serve as a business development manager for Livingston County.
The Ann Arbor SPARK employees will work in satellite offices in the chambers of commerce for Brighton
, respectively. Krutko says there may be expansion of Ann Arbor SPARK's small business incubator chain (it has incubators in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Plymouth) in the future but whether that happens is yet to be determined.
"This is the first step," Krutko says.
Source: Paul Krutko, CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.