Houghton Receives 5-Star Rating for Supporting Business and Entrepreneurship

HOUGHTON, MI – November 30, 2018 – The City of Houghton has been recognized for its successes and efforts in contributing to Michigan’s entrepreneurial growth and economic development in the annual eCities study conducted by researchers at iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research. Houghton was honored as a five-star community along with 180 other communities across the state.

“We’re proud to be designated a five-star community by the eCities Program,” said Houghton City Manager Eric Waara. “We’ve worked hard to create a culture that encourages economic development, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Our new and established businesses in the city are a large part of this environment. It’s a business-friendly community where people want to live, work, and play.”

Waara added, “MTEC SmartZone supports entrepreneurs with their new ideas and companies right here in this area so we’ve seen consistent growth in number of companies and jobs being created. A dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem has been built, and it will only get stronger over the next 15 years and beyond.”

The eCities study analyzed publicly available data from 277 communities from 54 counties in Michigan. Researchers focused on the five-year changes in property values, community assets, and tax rates, which can demonstrate the growth, investments and cost of doing business within the community. For example, over the five-year period of 2013-2017, these communities increased their capital assets by an average of 2 percent per year by investments such as street and building improvements, technology, and emergency vehicles and equipment.

“While accounting for only about 15 percent of the cities and townships in Michigan, the 277 communities analyzed are home to 70 percent of the population and 85 percent of the state’s commercial property,” said Tim Davis, director, iLabs. “By analyzing these high-performing communities, our goal is to showcase what cities and townships are doing to spur growth and how we can continue to support their efforts in developing business and encouraging entrepreneurs.”

Houghton was acknowledged Thursday, Nov. 29, during the Executive Speaker Series panel discussion, which discussed Michigan’s economic growth, including key areas such as capital, infrastructure, industry, and the ecosystem. The panel, moderated by Dr. Brian Patrick Green, Czarnecki Collegiate Professor, UM-Dearborn College of Business, featured William Adams, Senior International Economist, PNC Financial Services Group; Maureen Miller Brosnan, Executive Director, Michigan Venture Capital Association; Kristina Kolbas, SVP Enterprise Services, Quicken Loans; and Jeff Marston, V.P. of Business Services, Comcast Business, Heartland Region. The event was hosted by WWJ Newsradio 950’s Murray Feldman of the Feldman Report.




About University of Michigan-Dearborn

Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The university has 9,100 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education and health programs. A top-ranked university with faculty devoted to teaching and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn is shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.



eCities homepage:


Executive Speaker Series panel discussion details and registration:


List of all four-star communities:


List of all five-star communities:




Kate Malicke

kmalicke@umich.edu / 313-593-5644


Tim Davis, Director of iLabs

tadavis@umich.edu / 313-593-4060