The Institute leverages the University of Michigan’s resources, research, technologies, and expertise to foster innovation and create positive economic impact for local, state, and national communities and economies by working with small- and medium-sized enterprises.
1) The Institute works with companies that are considered to be strategically critical to the economy.
During the great recession, the institute worked with 200 Midwest manufacturing companies, important to the automotive supply chains, that were predicted to declare bankruptcy within six to eighteen months. After conducting 1) financial analysis and restructuring, 2) market analysis and new customer support, 3) operational excellence strategies, and 4) assistance with adopting new university technologies to improve companies’ competitiveness; 198 companies survived.
2) The Institute works with companies that are launching their first technical product, or an existing technical product into a new market.
The institute worked with a small rural company that had developed a waterproof fabric and was selling outdoor clothing. The institute’s team of project managers searched for and found faculty to develop a flame retardant fabric treatment at a university and helped the company integrate the technology into their design. The Institute then found a customer that needed a waterproof, flame-retardant fabric to manufacture military tents.
3) The Institute works with communities that would like to improve their economy.
With funding from the USDOC-EDA in response to the automotive crisis, UM Economic Growth Institute formed and led rapid response teams at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Cleveland State University, Purdue, and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. These teams worked with communities experiencing the adverse impacts of 50 major auto manufacturing plant closings. At the end, there was approximately 350 million square feet. of empty manufacturing space in the six-state EDA Chicago region. At that time the institute launched the National Catalog of Excess Manufacturing Capacity and created a matching algorithm and website for foreign direct investment, targeting site selectors internationally. One site was the General Motors Willow Run plant in Michigan. The Institute was part of the team that facilitated a transaction that transferred ownership of the site to the American Center for Mobility (ACM) that is now located on the 350 acre site and transforming into the nation’s premier research facility, certification site and test and development location for connected and autonomous vehicles. The ACM when fully operational is expected create hundreds of jobs, spin-off innovations and startups, and to be the national center for testing, evaluation and certification for advanced mobility.