REI Update

By: Jacob Leppek, MSU REI, Research Assistant,

At REI, we're always looking for innovative ideas and dedicated individuals to spur economic growth, create jobs, and research new development tools, models, policies and practices in Michigan. We've certainly found a few innovative ideas and dedicated individuals for our 2017 Co-Learning Plans and Student-Led, Faculty- Guided Projects. Co-Learning Plans create innovative economic development tools, models, strategies, policies, and practices which serve as a key resource for economic development practitioners and policymakers in Michigan. Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Projects assist Michigan communities in completing local and regional economic development initiatives by partnering university students with experienced advisors. Innovation Fellows, a newly-launched program, seeks to implement practices identified in Co-Learning Projects in communities around Michigan.

REI is happy to announce Co-Learning Plan partners are as follows:

Jerry Norris, who will examine the validity of a private, for-profit incubator. In the emerging entrepreneurship ecosystem, it's vital to create sustainable models that leverage the success of business incubators. This Co- Learning Plan will describe the process used for ideation, planning, prototyping and launching a business within the Grand Ledge Fledge.

Marvin Pichla, who will create a cooperative set of practices and initiatives to encourage entrepreneurial activity in Briley Township. The primary goal is to establish a cooperative set of practices and initiatives and
record them in an accessible guide book to improve the community.

Jason Ball, who will establish a working definition of social entrepreneurship in legacy cities. This will allow developers to incentivize social enterprises, and moreover, identify existing resources related to economic development, workforce development, and social services that can support a social enterprise approach to economic development.

Dayne Walling and Matt Ward, who will complete an analysis of federal, state, and local policies that have been effective in directing infrastructure investments for economic development purposes. This Co-Learning Plan addresses the question of whether public dollars should be spent to attract a business in one community when excess capacity exists in other communities.

Lastly, Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Projects that REI is supporting include:

Jonathan Lenonien and his project on Ecotourism in the Upper Peninsula and; Dr. Zenia Kotval (MSU) and Jeff Polkowski (City of Dearborn) and their Fairlane Town Center Revitalization Plan.

Thank you to all the applicants! As always, REI is committed to its mission of transforming innovative ideas into action within Michigan. We look forward to seeing the results of our awardees' work.

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