Innovation in Flint

Feb 18, 2011

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling praised investments like the Kettering Innovation Center as catalysts for job creation in the area at a news conference Feb. 4.

The city of Flint has hopeful news when it comes to job growth, and Flint Mayor Dayne Walling chose The Innovation Center at Kettering University as the backdrop to announce those encouraging numbers in a news conference Feb. 4.

Walling announced that the city’s unemployment rate dropped from 16 percent in 2009 to 11.8 percent in December 2010. He also stated that more than 1,000 jobs had been created in Flint during that time.

Walling and Tim Herman, CEO of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce, praised investments like The Innovation Center as catalysts for job creation in the area.

“With innovation, businesses and institutions leading the way for economic development and job creation, our vision for 2011 is to create more than 1,000 new jobs and build on the momentum year after year,” Walling said.

“Innovation is a catalyst for diversifying our economy, improving our competitiveness and ultimately creating jobs,” Herman said. “As we work toward reinventing Flint and Genesee County, innovation must be in the forefront.”

The Innovation Center, home of Swedish Biogas International, was specifically mentioned as one of the key developments in Flint in 2010. Diplomat Pharmacy, Hurley Medical Center’s emergency room expansion and several other business, medical and higher education ventures were praised by Walling and Herman for their leadership in job creation in Flint.

“The Innovation Center lets Kettering directly support the creation of new jobs and companies for our home region,” said Neil Sheridan, director of Kettering University TechWorks. “By encouraging and training knowledge workers such as engineers and scientists to apply their abilities to entrepreneurial high tech start-ups, we’re both helping put them back to work as well as create growth to employ others. Of course, we’re also actively working with Kettering students, professors and alumni who are learning to create their own ventures or want to do research with our other clients.”

The Innovation Center, which opened in August 2010, is a major investment in Michigan and in Flint’s future. Gov. Rick Snyder, as well as Walling, have spoke frequently about the need for high-tech jobs to spur the economic recovery, and Kettering University’s campus has positioned itself as a major hub for creators of those jobs.

“At the Incubator in the Mott Building and at the Innovation Center, Kettering provides first-class but low-cost collaboration space for these teams,” Sheridan said. “We want the Genesee region’s tech ventures to move out of the garage and onto Kettering's campus.”

Contact: Patrick Hayes