On March 28, 2017, the state of Michigan awarded a $2.5 million Michigan Strategic Fund grant to support the Flint Ferris Wheel Innovation Center and 100K Ideas in the historic 1898 Ferris Furs building, an abandoned, art-deco style structure in downtown Flint.
With the renovation of the seven-story building comes 100K ideas, an innovation platform that is expected to “put a new spin on the way innovators approach the startup process by offering a ‘one-stop-shop’ to support them from concept to commercialization,” according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
“Not only will this project redevelop a seven-story vacant building in downtown Flint, but the business climate and entrepreneurial hub will add vibrancy, people on the street, and a viable way forward for many Flint residents well into the future,” said Steve Arwood, CEO of the MEDC. “Our hope is that entrepreneurial businesses graduating from the space will continue to thrive in downtown Flint, locating their businesses to surrounding buildings and commercial spaces.”
“The most innovative aspect of 100K Ideas at the Ferris Wheel is how it incorporates so many aspects of the community,” said Phil Hagerman, CEO of SkyPoint Ventures. “From local university students gaining real job experience in their field by assisting inventors with bringing products from concept to market, to providing aspiring entrepreneurs in the community with access to workshops, competitions, boot camps and demo days through our partnership with U of M Flint.”
The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) was created by P.A. 270 of 1984 and has broad authority to promote economic development and create jobs. The MSF board has the following responsibilities:
- Approve grants and loans under the Michigan Business Development Program;
- Approve grants and loans under the Michigan Community Revitalization Program;
- Approve the use of Private Activity Revenue Bonds;
- Authorize the submittal by local units of government of Community Development Block Grant applications;
- Recommend to the State Administrative Board Agricultural Processing, Renewable Energy and Forest Products Processing Renaissance Zone designations;
- Approve Tool and Die Renaissance Recovery Zones;
- Act as the fiduciary agent with respect to the 21st Century Jobs Fund investments; and
- Pursuant to statute, the Chief Compliance Officer provides advice and guidance in regard to the 21st Century Jobs Fund.
Photo credit: DetroitDerek Photography via Flickr