The state is dotted with emerging industry hubs, each the focus of a network of high-tech suppliers and customers. On the Lake Huron side, Dow Chemical, Hemlock Semiconductor and Energy Conversion Devices anchor Saginaw Solar Valley companies at work converting sunlight to an alternative energy source. In West Michigan, Medical Mile/Medical Main Street are self-contained villages advancing life science research, medical education and delivery of services to rival the nation’s best while Grand Rapids has the largest and most respected plastics technology program in the country.
The new mobility industry taking shape in West and Southeast Michigan has six major facilities, plus ancillaries, researching, developing and manufacturing advanced battery technology to fuel electric and hybrid vehicles. Along an arc from Ann Arbor, Oakland County and Lansing to Grand Rapids, software developers write the code to power electronics, industrial machinery and equipment, measurement and control.
The state’s network of 15 tax-advantaged SmartZones, now in their 10th year, incubate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs. Focused on recognized clusters of new and emerging businesses, they direct resources to commercializing ideas, patents and other opportunities. Accelerators such as NextEnergy and Detroit’s Wayne State University-based Techtown bridge startups from incubator to commercialization. In Oakland County, Automation Alley has invested $5 million to seed 25 technology startups.