University of Michigan Recognizes City Of Dexter For Economic Excellence

The City of Dexter was recently recognized for our economic excellence by eCities, a collaborative study from iLabs which is the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research.

At the recent annual Celebration Event on November 14, the eCities study results were presented with Dexter being awarded a 5-star rating for our strategies employed to foster entrepreneurial growth and economic development.

Tim Davis, Director of iLabs with Michelle Aniol, Dexter’s City Community Development Manager

eCities is an annual research study that examines community-level factors that influence entrepreneurship, economic development, and job growth. Local communities who participate in the project receive benchmarking reports showing their performance at creating inviting business environments and encouraging entrepreneurial growth. The focus of the project is to learn and share the “Best Practices” to attract entrepreneurial development and create business growth. Understanding the best practices and utilizing these concepts across Michigan will have a positive impact on the state’s economic future.

“The eCities project highlights how local governments from across the state of Michigan are cultivating and supporting economic development. These communities show how local governments can work in distinct and strategic ways to energize public spaces, while investing in businesses and job development,” said Tim Davis, director, iLabs.

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.

This year, the eCities study examined data from 277 communities across Michigan taking into consideration a number of factors related to economic development, entrepreneurship, growth, and community involvement. In addition, 37 communities submitted applications detailing specific efforts in which their communites are focusing on development. A panel of experts in various backgrounds related to entrepreneurship, development, and government have examined these communities and selected a few communities to be recognized as top communities in Michigan.

The City of Dexter was given the top rating of 5-stars along with 28 other communities. The numbers to quality for this top rating which denotes a “best practice community” are staggering.

Five-star communities include:

  • Commercial constructions worth over $875 million.
  • More than $29 billion in combined real and personal properties.
  • More than $21 million in additions to assets in the past year.
  • About 10% of the employed population being self-employed.


Representing Dexter: Councilman Zach Michels, City Manager Courtney Nicholls, and City Community Development Manager Michelle Aniol

Findings from this study were shared at the Celebration Event on November 14. The event will also hosted a forward-thinking panel conversation regarding ways talent, businesses, policy, and access to capital have impacted community growth in Michigan and what that means for Michigan’s business communites for the next decade.

“For the past decade, eCities research has provided data on the strategies and best practices communities are using to successfully attract and retain business,” Davis said. “We continue to share this research so that communities throughout Michigan can adapt and adopt the tools that best align with their community needs and economic development goals.” 

Support for eCities is provided in part by the DTE Energy Foundation, Comcast, Plante Moran and UM-Dearborn’s College of Business.

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