Center for Innovation Research




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 community success stories to attract entrepreneurial development and create business growth. Understanding these success stories, or best practices, and utilizing these concepts across Michigan will have a positive impact on the state’s economic future.  


In 2018, the eCities team collected data on 277 communities from 54 counties across Michigan. More specifically, the study examined eleven publicly available data points related to growth and investment metrics that impact the business community. In addition, more than 25 communities submitted applications detailing more specific ways in which their communities are focusing on development and improving their business climate. A panel of reviewers with various backgrounds related to entrepreneurship, development, and government examined the submissions and selected four communities to be recognized as top communities in Michigan. 

In partnership with the UM-Dearborn Executive Speaker Series, communities were celebrated on November 29th, 2018. The event hosted an insightful panel discussion regarding Michigan's economic growth, including key areas like capital, infrastructure, industry, and the ecosystem. 

Congratulations to our 2018 4-Star and 5-Star communities!



Would you like to learn more about eCities?

Let the communities who have participated tell you about the project!


If you are a city, township, or village that wishes to share in the best practices of communities to promote entrepreneurial growth and economic development, please contact us at or by phone at (313) 593-4209 to participate in eCities. 

​​If you are an organization or business interested in learning more about eCities sponsorship opportunities, please contact Tim Davis at (313) 593-4060 or