Southfield named as a top performing community fostering economic growth

Southfield was named as one of the 38 top performing communities at fostering entrepreneurial growth and economic development in an annual study by researchers at the iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research.

Southfield was one of just 21 communities to be named a 5-star community, according to the study. The factors that made Southfield a 5-star community included “clustering,” the ability to invite and new infrastructure and have large concentrations of commercial and industrial activity; offer existing and prospective businesses various financial “incentives;” ongoing “growth” that includes increases in property values; strong “policies” that connect businesses with community resources; the fostering of a “community” environment including higher median incomes, low crime rates and more; and serving as a home to concentrations of a workforce that is strong in “education.”

“We feel that businesses are the engines of growth and development in today’s economy and are focused in helping the City of Southfield to compete for top employers in the region,” said Rochelle Freeman, business development manager for the City of Southfield.

The eCities research surveyed more than 100 communities in the State of Michigan who are home to 36% of Michigan residents and 44% of its college graduates. These communities also had more than $1 billion in commercial construction last year and more than half of them share services with other communities.

“This is a tremendous recognition of the city’s efforts to bring new developments into the area,” said Southfield Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Al Aceves. “We recognize the importance of balancing the needs of our residents, employers, developers and other stakeholders.”

The communities were honored at a ceremony at UM-Dearborn on November 16.

The annual eCities research project, which began in 2007, uses data supplied by the participants as well as other public records to assemble a six-factor, 32-item index of entrepreneurial activity, looking at such factors as clustering, incentives, growth, policies, community and education. The study focuses on entrepreneurship because of its importance to expansion and diversification of Michigan’s regional economies and the impact small businesses have on job creation. To date, 138 communities across Michigan have participated in the study.