Town-gown relations are rising to a grand new scale with the newly formed Accelerate Michigan
, which is chiefly supported by the Business Accelerator Network with help from partners the University Research Corridor (URC), New Economy Initiative (NEI) and Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM).
These organizations have joined forces to help drive the state's job growth and economic development. URC is an economic development alliance of Michigan's top three research universities: Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. These institutions have a combined $14.8 billion economic impact on the Great Lakes State.
BLM is composed of the senior executives from the state's largest companies and employers. The two groups have announced an ambitious agenda for collaborative work to help Michigan become a "Top 10" state for economic growth.
The partnership stands on three major pillars: fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, growing capital and investment opportunities for early-stage businesses, and identifying high-potential clusters of innovation in the state.
The partnership's mission, says URC executive director Jeff Mason, is to "unlock the value of the universities' intellectual assets to contribute to the state's prosperity and highlight the researchers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders engaged in making Michigan a top 10 state for economic growth."
Also in the works is the creation of a Michigan Science & Innovation Council, comprised of the URC and BLM vice presidents for research and development, among others. The Michigan Science and Innovation Council will look at R&D trends and potential impact on statewide economic development activity.
"Business and universities are both part of the solution to our economic challenges," says Allan Gilmour, interim president of Wayne State University. "But it's the combined power that can really make a difference. That's what Accelerate Michigan is all about."