Innovation, Entrepreneurial Development, and Michigan’s Work Place

Michigan Technological University
Innovation Ecosystem Collaborative Development

Successful and efficient innovation enablement requires an integrated ecosystem of resources, support services, educational/training programs, and networking opportunities. From recruitment of pre-college innovators to development and recruitment of startup management talent, Michigan Tech has partnered with a broad array of local and regional stakeholders to develop a series of integrated programs and services that support innovators and entrepreneurs in moving forward with their business plans to create economic impact. Key community and regional partners include the MTEC SmartZone, the regional Small Business Development Center, and the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance.


Jim Baker
Executive Director, Innovation and Industry Engagement
(906) 487-3459

Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University Product Development Center

The LSSU Product Development Center has supported nearly 14,000 hours of student employment combined with faculty engagement on over 230 engineering projects for entrepreneurs and businesses in collaboration with SmartZoneSM partners and economic development agencies:

  • Assembly automation enabled a UP manufacturer to pursue larger orders and add employees.
  • Engineering design and assistance in selecting a surgical instrument fabricator in Michigan allowed Orthopedic Design Innovations to get to the first production-grade units of an innovative spinal surgery tool set.
  • LSSU spawned a multi-discipline student operated company, Superior Aquasystems, LLC, that is developing a turn-key fish farming hydroponics system complete with equipment, alternative energy system, and business plan.


Eric Becks
Director, Intellectual Property and Economic Development
(906) 635-2738

University of Michigan–Flint
UM-Flint Innovation Incubator

The UM-Flint Innovation Incubator [IN] supports University students and community members in starting small businesses and nonprofits that serve regional to statewide populations. The incubator’s mission is to nurture innovation, creativity and social enterprises. It provides collaboration co-work space, assistance with business model development, workshops, and referrals, all free of charge to students and the community. Student businesses and nonprofit startups may qualify for free office space and mentoring in this program, which is funded by the C.S. Mott Foundation. The [IN], as part of University Outreach, links the campus and community with opportunities for learning and civic engagement and fosters economic vitality. UM-Flint faculty assist with courses and mentoring in Incubator programs.


Sara McDonnell
Project Coordinator
(810) 424-5489

Sherry Hayden
Administrative Assistant
(810) 424-5428