Ford Motor Company just rolled out a giant welcome mat to global innovators – and the Detroit Regional Partnership could not be more excited to tout it to domestic and international companies looking to expand in North America.
The April grand opening of Newlab Detroit’s headquarters in Michigan Central’s Book Depository building creates a world-class innovation center to attract talent and business to the city and region.
“This sends the message to innovators around the world: ‘You need to be in our 11-county region to stay at the forefront of the mobility industry,’” said Justin Robinson, Executive Vice President of Economic Development for the Detroit Regional Partnership. “Not only do you have the backing of a global juggernaut like Ford, the startups and companies locating there are adding to what already was the most densely automotive and mobility cluster in the world. It’s a complete game-changer.”
“This is just the start for Michigan Central as we look to scale the attraction of more companies and investment from around the globe to make an impact here in Detroit and Michigan that will be felt across the world.”
Joshua Sirefman, CEO of Michigan Central
Among startups already based at Newlab, are Airspace Link, a leading drone management platform; Cavnue, a company accelerating the benefits of automated vehicles through advanced roadways; Grounded, a company developing electrified recreational vehicles; wheel.me – autonomous, anything – wheel.me , a Norway-based robotics company that invented the world’s first and only autonomous wheel; and JustAir, a Detroit-based startup developing local air pollution monitoring solutions and many others.
“This is just the start for Michigan Central as we look to scale the attraction of more companies and investment from around the globe to make an impact here in Detroit and Michigan that will be felt across the world,” said Joshua Sirefman, CEO of Michigan Central in a press release.
In selecting Detroit, wheel.me connected with the Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP) to explore expansion in Southeast Michigan as it looked to serve and expand its North American customer base.
“Wheel.me considered other cities such as Pittsburgh and Boston, but they came to Detroit and there’s no doubt Michigan Central factored into that decision,” said Robinson, noting that the DRP provided assistance with site selection, incentives, talent and other local support as the project received a $240,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
“The EDA bet big on the Detroit Region with its recent $52.2 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant as the Global Epicenter of Mobility and there’s a reason for that,” said GEM’s Executive Vice President Christine Roeder, who the DRP recently hired to lead the initiative. “We have innovators up and down the supply chain and innovators like to be near other innovators.”
Through GEM, a DRP-led coalition is setting out to define advanced mobility while ensuring the region and state maintain their automotive and mobility leadership.
That’s something Ford knows a little bit about.
“Michigan Central is a first-of-its-kind open platform, underpinned by Ford’s commitment to help advance future technologies and skills. It will become a proving ground to drive new innovation across physical solutions, social and economic mobility,” said Sirefman.