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Your Partner in Growing Your Community

Why Economic Development

Economic developers are often tasked with answering the question of exactly what it is that they do. The answer is not always simple because they use a variety of methods to meet their goals. This page provides a simple explanation to the purpose of this great profession.

buildingsWhat is Economic Development?

Economic development is attracting and growing businesses, creating and retaining jobs, and making our communities a better place to live.

Why is Economic Development Important?

Attracting and growing businesses strengthens our economy providing locally-produced goods and services. Strong businesses pay taxes that go for vital services such as schools, roads, fire, and police. Businesses also provide good jobs that put money in people’s pockets and allow for a higher quality of life.

What is the impact of economic development?

Economic development has a lasting impact on a community. Job providers purchase goods and services they need to operate, and their workers purchase goods and services they need to live. Money changes hands many times as it flows through the local economy and creates overall prosperity enjoyed by all citizens.

What are other benefits of economic development?

  • Economic development has a major impact on the places where we live, work and play. Putting vacant or abandoned buildings and land back into productive use is a major function of economic development. This helps keep businesses located in urban areas where sewer, water, and other services are already present.
  • Economic development retains and attracts talented people. Communities that provide quality jobs and great places to live and work are a magnet for folks of all ages. As a result, these places have a strong future.
  • Economic development also fosters the entrepreneurial spirit that resides in our creative and ambitious citizens. By providing access to ideas, investment and expert advice new companies can be created to help assure Michigan’s economy stays innovative and diverse.

What is an Economic Developer?

What is an Economic DeveloperEconomic developers are professionals within a community that use various tools to stimulate economic growth while maximizing the best interests of the entire community and finding mutually beneficial solutions for all parties concerned.

How do Economic Developers attract and grow businesses to strengthen our economies?

Economic developers work jointly with businesses, developers and government to promote economic growth. They are well versed in business assistance, marketing and knowledgeable regarding federal, state and local programs.

How does an Economic Developer make a difference in my Community?

Businesses are always faced with decisions of where and how to invest their limited funds to be more successful. These funds are often borrowed from banks and investors who expect a return on their investment. Communities benefit from economic development and are quite often willing to help lower a business’s initial investment costs or taxes. Economic developers understand how these private investment decisions are made and work to make sure the decision is good for both the business and the community.

What tools do Economic Developers use to create Economic Development?

There are many factors that come into play when private investment decisions are made. Economic developers use tools such as incentives to reduce business costs which results in more investment in the community and creates benefits for both the private and public sectors.  

How do Economic Developers ensure the use of incentives is in the public’s best interest and businesses are held accountable for the promises they make?

The public sector makes the decision to approve the type and use of incentives. These decisions are based upon the desire to benefit the public. Economic development incentives are a valuable tool that can provide the state and local communities with a positive return on their investment. Economic developers are experts in the use of incentives and forging agreements to between businesses and government to ensure the results are mutually beneficial to all.  

How can I find one to help me and/or my community?

The staff of the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) is happy to help connect you with an economic developer to help with your economic growth project. Also see the Michigan Economic Development Directory, full of MEDA members and partners that are ready to help you succeed in Michigan!

Additional Resources

Read the What is Economic Development, Exactly? blog by Karl Dorshimer, CEcD, EDFP, Director, Economic Development, Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP)

View the Promoting Economic Development and Economic Developers in Michigan PowerPoint, created by MEDA's Advocacy Committee.

Any Questions?

Further inquiries on the subject can be made to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling our main line: 517-241-0011.

MEDA and Economic Development News

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9/17/18

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8/27/18

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8/13/18

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TED's New Talent Development Liaison Team Will Help Build Business and Education Partnerships

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7/30/18

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Pfizer Project Shows Michigan's Life Science Sector is Alive, Growing

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7/25/18

City of Hastings Seeking RFP's for Acquisition and Development of Downtown Lot

7/23/18

Financial-tech Incubator to Open in Detroit

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7/16/18

Detroit Regional Chamber and General Motors NeighborHUB Grant Program Now Accepting Applications For Five Grants Up To $30,000

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Michigan Releases Hot 50 Jobs Outlook through 2026

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7/9/18

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6/25/18

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6/18/18

Small Business Association of Michigan Releases Entrepreneurship-led Economic Development Strategy

Flint's Economic Development Director Readies for New Investments

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6/4/18

Michigan to Launch $8 Million Mobility Challenge

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5/29/18

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5/21/18

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5/14/18

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5/7/18

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4/30/18

Michigan Public Service Commission Approves St. Clair County Billion Dollar Power Plant

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4/23/18

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4/16/18

Treasury, IRS Announces First Round of Opportunity Zone Designations for 18 States

Panel Scales Back Snyder's "Marshall Plan" for Talent

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4/9/18

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4/2/18

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3/12/18

State Extends GROW Michigan Fund for Two More Years

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2/26/18

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2/5/18

Governor Snyder Signs Executive Order to Enhance Statewide Broadband Access

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1/29/18

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1/23/18

Detroit Misses 20-City Short List for Amazon HQ2

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Cindy Brown features in Grand Rapids Business Journal Influential Women Interview

1/16/18

CEcD Exam Prep Course in Ohio in February - 6 Seats Left!

Statewide Economic Developers Association Hosts Michigan Gubernatorial Candidates at Capitol Day Event

1/15/18

Detroit Auto Show to Include Expo With Over 80 Employers

Detroit Offers Room to Grow in Pitch for Amazon Headquarters

New Michigan Economic Center Report Shows Potential for Job Growth in Emerging Sectors

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1/9/18

Michigan Offering $5 Million in Competitive Grants for Career and Technical Education

New Report Shows How Communities Gain from Brownfield Area-Wide Planning

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1/2/18

Manufacturers Work to Address ‘Image Problem’ at Root of Talent Crunch

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12/26/17

Amazon HQ2 Bid Revealed: Tax Breaks, $120 Million Talent Program, Transit Vision

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Lansing Economic Area Partnership Takes Over Economic Development for Ingham County

12/19/17

Michigan’s Automotive Industry Includes 2,200+ Facilities

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12/12/17

86 Oakland County Businesses to Share More Than $2 Million in State Skilled Trades Training Funds

Detroit Development Fund to Make $1 Million in Loans for Healthy Food Businesses

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Mopar Opens $10M Center in Romulus, Expected to Create 100 Jobs

12/5/17

Ludington Business Announces Multi-Million Dollar Expansion

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Universities Ramp up Research, Pump Out Inventions

11/28/17

Autonomous Ships on the Horizon for Great Lakes

Cascade Township Earns 5-star Ranking for Economic Development

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Report: Tech and Workforce Investments Needed to Keep Michigan a "Manufacturing Powerhouse"

1/21/17

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Visteon Invests $5M in Willow Run Mobility Center

11/14/17

First New Auto Plant to be Built in Southeast Michigan in More Than 25 Years

Gilbert’s Bedrock Seeks Council OK for Major Tax Breaks

InvestUP Aims to Attract Business to the UP

Transportation Grants Help Create 880 Jobs In Metro Detroit

11/7/17

After 25 years, Brownfield Cleanup Still Totals Millions

Report: Michigan’s Wine Industry Adds $5.4B to State Economy

State of the Region: Detroit Area Outpaces Nation in Private-Sector Job Growth

10/31/17

Cignys Investing $6 Million, Creating 50 New Jobs in Saginaw County

Labor Unions Break Ground on Training Center for Construction Workers

Nonprofits Contribute $17.8 Billion to Economy Annually in Southeast Michigan, Thumb

Report: Refugees Contribute $295M to Southeast Michigan Economy Annually

10/24/17

Great American Main Street Competition Names Howell, Saline Semi-Finalists

Ionia County Economic Alliance & The Right Place Partner with Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch to Enable Major Expansion

Seattle Leaders Look to Push ‘Refresh’ Button with Amazon

10/17/17

Enrollment Climbing in Michigan's CTE Programs, but Completion Rates Remain Low

Lapeer Becomes Home to Michigan's Largest Solar Park

Macomb Community College Leads Coalition to Address Manufacturing Skills Gap

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10/10/17

Bill Allowing 80,000 Self-driving Cars on the Road Passes Senate Panel

Detroit Plan Will Invest $125 Million in Business Districts, Reclaim $2.6 Billion in Retail Spendin

Stabenow, Peters Introduce Small Business Legislation

USDOT Opens $500M TIGER Program Funding Opportunity for FY 2017

10/3/17

Continental Tests Autonomous Cars in U.P.

Kalamazoo Unveils Economic Development, Affordable Housing Strategies

Michigan Communities get $23.2 Million for Infrastructure Projects

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Two MEDA Members – Clarinda Barnett-Harrison and John Paul Rea – Make Crain’s 40 Under 40 List

9/26/17

Fort Custer Chosen for Department of Defense Energy Project

Networks Northwest CEO honored

Nothing Is Too Strange for Cities Wooing Amazon to Build There

9/19/17

Amazon Expands with New Fulfillment Center in Michigan, Creating 1,000 New Full-Time Jobs

Merrill Technologies Group to invest $3.75 million in Alma, Saginaw

Saline Adds Big-Town Developments While Maintaining Small-Town Spirit

Two 500-Megawatt Electric Generating Plants Proposed for Marshall's Industrial Park

9/12/17

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Industrial Developers Look to Expand Midland Presence

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9/5/17

Midtown Detroit unveils plans for $20 million Selden Corridor redevelopment

Self-Driving Pizza Delivery Cars to be Tested in the US

Small Business Boost: Michigan SBDC Gets $100,000 Grant

8/29/17

435-Job, $29M Auto Manufacturing Plant to Roll Into Flint Buick City

Launch Manistee Grant Aims To Help Local Businesses

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8/22/17

Linkedin to open Detroit office, hire 30

Michigan Dept. of Ag to spur investment with $4.7M in new incentives

New R&D center unites the art and science of baking for $2B Michigan company

8/15/17

Dart Container Corporation Plans Technical and Innovation Center in Mason, Michigan

Flint & Genesee Chamber Announces Leadership Realignment

The Michigan-China Trade Relationship is Growing

8/8/17

Advisory Group Releases Workforce Information Agenda

Ex-MEDC CEO Steve Arwood to Lead Public-Private Partnerships at Law Firm

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8/1/17

New "Creative Chamber" Created in Traverse City to Attract, Keep Creative Talent

New MEDC Chief Offers Blueprint for Michigan's Economy

USDA Accepting Applications for Rural Broadband Projects

7/25/17

‘Full employment’ in 33 of 83 counties

Report: Michigan no Longer a Flyover State for Venture Capital

7/18/17

Agriculture Forum: Efforts are Connecting Farmers Through New Linking Program

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Groups Launch STEM Careers Video Showcase

7/11/17

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Snyder: Make Michigan the go-to State for Top Jobs

Cole Says Auto Industry Future to be Marked by Change, Uncertainty

7/5/17

Report: Autonomous Vehicles Could Shrink Auto Insurance Sector By 71 Percent

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6/27/17

Right Place CEO named 2017 'Business Person of the Year'

Gov. Snyder recommends Jeff Mason to lead Michigan's economic development

SBAM Collaborates to Help Small Business Owners

Michigan Launches Plan to Boost Career Education - and Skilled Trades

Amazon seeks $5M tax break for new $140M distribution center in Michigan

6/20/17

Bills Capture Income Taxes for 'Challenging' Projects, says Gov. Snyder

Michigan Ranks #1 in Competitiveness in the Midwest and #5 Overall in Site Selection’s 2017 Prosperity Cup

6/13/17

‘Wake-up Call’ Issued for Michigan Home Building

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Trade Group Announces Grants to Improve Gathering Spaces

6/6/17

Some Michigan Companies are 'Turning Away Work' as 100K Jobs go Unfilled

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Creative Chambers Initiative Seeks to Attract Creative Industries to Michigan

5/30/17

Steve Arwood Stepping Down as Head of State Economic Development Agency

U.P. Economic Development group named

U.S. Department of Agriculture gives priority to project funding through four programs in a new round of grants

5/23/17

Investors are Bringing Their Millions to Lansing

New SBA Director for Michigan to Drive Awareness of Loan Programs

5/15/17

St. Clair County's First Business Incubator Buzzing With Fresh Ideas

Sick of Losing Talent War, Detroit Tries Silicon Valley Makeover

5/9/17

April 2017 Michigan Public Policy Survey Finds: Improving communication, building trust are seen as keys to fixing relationships between local jurisdictions and the State government

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5/2/17

House Panel OKs Tax Incentives for Developers

Michigan Eyes Strategies to Boost Job Training

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4/24/17

Michigan Main Street First to Pilot State-Wide Implementation of Refreshed Main Street Approach

To Keep on Trucking, States Streamline Food Truck Licensing

4/18/17

Michigan Economic Development Corp. to Grant $1M in Funding to Research Universities

Beacon Council Names Former Michigan Official Mike Finney President and CEO

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NMU Representatives Explain UP Broadband Expansion Plans

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4/10/17

Governor Snyder Calls on Southeast Michigan to Jumpstart Infrastructure Pilot Program

MSU Study Finds Potential for "Deconstruction Economy" in Michigan

4/3/17

'Good Jobs' Package Approved by State Senate Makes Michigan Competitive, Backers Say

Potatoes, Pop, and JIFFY Corn Muffins: Michigan's Agri-businesses Thrive and Reinvest

3/27/17

MEDC, NEI Launch $4.2M Fund for Tech Startups

Bay City and Saginaw Metro Area Ranked in Top 10 for Investment

Deadline Approaching for Michigan Communities to Apply for Public Infrastructure Assistance

3/20/17

States Not Waiting on Trump's Infrastructure Plan

MEDA Member Mandi Chasey Named in National Rural Assembly's List of Amazing Rural Women

Michigan Outpaces Other States on Tacentivx Breaks, Ines for Businesses

Lapeer Among Three Communities to Join Michigan Main Street Program

3/6/17

Michigan's Newest Hub for Entrepreneurs Features Hip Vibe, Waterfront Views

MEDA Member Rob Cleveland Named to North America's Top 50 Economic Developers - Download the Consultant Connect E-Book

2/27/17

Senate Approves Tax Incentive for Blight Redevelopment

Michigan's Aerospace Programs are Taking Off!

Tecumseh Approves Adrian-Tecumseh SmartZone

2/15/17

Holistic Approach Will Ensure Michigan Can Compete, Isn’t Left Behind Other States Luring Good Jobs, Investment

Ford's Investment in Michigan is Creating 70 Jobs at One Company

2/6/17

Trade mission helps Michigan food business target Chinese markets

Microsoft's Southfield office moving downtown

Fed report shows Michigan leading Great Lakes area economic growth

1/30/17

Snyder, Michigan businesses heading to Israel on investment mission

New $7.5 million development planned for Detroit's New Center

Booming again: West Michigan’s economy is on a roll

1/23/17

$10 deal will turn closed GM foundry & landfill in Michigan into urban park

American Center for Mobility named federal driverless car proving ground

Hillsdale County welcomes a fabulous new specialty shop, M & M Smokehouse Meats

1/16/17

Uber to build autonomous-vehicle research center in Michigan

Medicaid expansion boosts Michigan's economy and will more than pay for itself

Housing market begins 2017 on a 'hot' note

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1/9/17

Rewards of Economic Development Outweigh Costs

Mobility Initiative Aims to Match State Auto Business, Silicon Valley

1/3/2017

The Year in Michigan Business: Food Economy, Company Towns, U.P. Innovation and More

New DTE Energy Wind Park Will Power Over 22,000 Homes

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About MEDA

The Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA), founded in 1960, exists to advance economic development throughout Michigan, and increase the individual member’s effectiveness in the economic development profession. The association’s goal is to provide a variety of services and programs that will enhance ability and skills in economic development.

Through education, legislative updates, public relations and networking, MEDA makes it possible for economic development professionals statewide to accomplish their goals more efficiently and effectively.

Our Vision

Leading Michigan's economic development through education, networking and advocacy on economic development.

Our Mission

To undertake education, networking and advocacy on economic development for an in support of our members, partners and stakeholders.

Sponsor MEDA

Sponsor for WebpageSponsoring MEDA will provide maximum exposure to the local economic development community for your organization and its services, thereby creating new customers and building new relationships that will enhance your business growth.

If you do business with any of the following, please consider MEDA Sponsorship:

Brownfield Redevelopment - Business Finance - Chambers of Commerce - Community Development - Consulting - Downtown Development - Environmental Consulting - Higher Education - Municipalities - Planning - Private and Public Economic Development Organizations - Real Estate Development - State Agencies - Utilities and infrastructure - Workforce Development - Others interested in economic development

How to Sponsor

If you and your company have decided that you would like to sponsor, please call MEDA at 517-241-0011 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank You Sponsors

Thank You 2017 Sponsors

Thank You 2016 Sponsors

Sponsorship Opportunities

Corporate Sponsorship

Corporate packages support the Association’s goals throughout the year and provide exclusive benefits.

BOTH PACKAGES INCLUDE

Recognition and Benefits

  • Logo on Each Page of MEDA Website
  • Logo on Event Handouts for All Events
  • Sponsorship Sign at All Events as Corporate Sponsor
  • Sponsorship of Annual Meeting
    • Annual Meeting Website
    • Electronic Mailing List of Attendees
    • Exhibit Table
    • Event Emails
    • Main Brochure
    • Onsite Brochure
    • Social Media Promotion
    • Sponsorship Sign

SELECT ($6,000)

Additional Benefits

  • 3 Individual Memberships

ELITE ($13,000)

Additional Benefits

  • 5 Individual Memberships
  • 5 Complimentary Registrations to All Educational Programs*
  • 2 Economic Development Basic Course Scholarships

Additional Recognition

  • Listing on all MEDA Membership Newsletters
  • Listing on all Job Postings
  • Listing on all Help A MEDA Member Requests

Additional Annual Meeting Sponsor Benefits

  • Opportunity to Address Audience

*Excludes MEDA-hosted courses for nationally-recognized certification, such as IEDC and NDC certification courses.

Annual Meeting Sponsorship

Enjoy the opportunity to meet, greet, and generate new business, by sponsoring our premier event, which brings our members together for 3 days to learn, brainstorm, and network. A variety of economic development topics are covered, and nationally recognized experts are featured to give participants the latest information.

*If you would like to sponsor specific portion - such as a session or reception - please contact us.

BASIC LEVEL: FRIENDS OF MEDA ($600)

Recognition

  • Annual Meeting Website
  • Event Emails
  • Main Brochure
  • Onsite Brochure
  • Social Media Promotion
  • Sponsorship Sign

ENHANCED LEVELS ***Includes Basic Level and Additional Recognition and Benefits***

TOUR ($800)

Additional Recognition

  • Opportunity to Address Tour Audience

SILVER ($1,600)

Additional Benefits

  • 1 Complimentary Registration

Additional Recognition

  • Electronic Mailing List of Attendees
  • Exhibit Table

GOLD ($3,000)

Additional Benefits

  • 1 Complimentary Registration
  • 1 Complimentary Membership

Additional Recognition

  • Opportunity to Address Audience
  • Opportunity to Distribute Materials*
  • Electronic Mailing List of Attendees
  • Exhibit Table

*Distributed materials and their placement must be approved by MEDA staff prior to the conference.

Membership Program Sponsorship*

MEDA has three, day-long programs that attract economic developers from around the state. Sponsoring these events provides meaningful engagement opportunities throughout the day.

CAPITOL DAY ($1,500)

Capitol Day is MEDA’s annual legislative conference, which includes sessions on the latest legislative issues related to economic development as well as State and Federal agency updates on economic development initiatives and laws.

THE FALL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOLBOX ($1,500)

THE SPRING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOLBOX ($1,500)

These events host sessions on a variety of components for economic development success: new tools and programs, updates to existing tools and programs, best practices, marketing, unique ideas, skill-building, and leadership. The agendas are unique to each program.

Benefits and Recognition

  • 1 Complimentary Registration
  • Opportunity to Address Audience
  • Electronic Mailing List of Attendees
  • Exhibit Table
  • Event Emails
  • Main Brochure
  • Event Handouts
  • Program Webpage
  • Social Media Promotion
  • Sponsorship Sign

*Limited to 4 sponsors per event.

Emerging Leaders Spring Program Sponsorship

The Michigan Economic Developers Association Emerging Leaders Network is a member-driven organization that supports early-career economic developers and helps them to excel in their field by providing them with the tools and opportunities to be successful through training, mentoring, and networking and outreach.

Recognizing the need for a conduit to connect young professionals in economic development, the MEDA Young Professionals (MEDAYP) program was established in 2013. Over time, the group began to show a stronger presence of early-career professionals rather than those fitting within a specific age range. It was also recognized that the economic development community seemed to form relationships despite age. Therefore, MEDAYP morphed into Emerging Leaders in order to meet the needs of the MEDA membership ...

... and it’s been growing ever since!

Get in touch with tomorrow’s leading economic developers by supporting the Emerging Leaders Spring Program.

EMERGING LEADERS SPRING PROGRAM SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE ($600)

Recognition and Benefits

  • Opportunity to Address Audience
  • Event Emails
  • Main Brochure
  • Event Handouts
  • Program Webpage
  • Social Media Promotion
  • Sponsorship Sign

Michigan's Economic Development Basic Course Sponsorship

MEDA makes it a priority to provide certification courses for the professional develpment of its members. The Basic Course, which is the first step in the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation through the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), attracts 30-45 economic developers each year for comprehensive training by experienced leaders. Supporting this event will provide scholarship(s) that would otherwise not be available to economic development professionals whose organizations have limited financial resources.

MICHIGAN'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BASIC COURSE PACKAGE ($625)

Recognition and Benefits

  • Press Release to Display Your Generosity for this Cause
  • Electronic Mailing List of Attendees
  • Event Emails
  • Main Brochure
  • Event Handouts
  • Program Webpage
  • Social Media Promotion
  • Sponsorship Sign

Networking and Knowledge Exchanges Sponsorship

MEDA’s Regional Networking and Knowledge Exchange events allow plenty of time for networking as well as an educational component so attendees receive the added value of information and resources to help do their job more efficiently and effectively.

There is typically two events per year and sponsorship of the events is separate.

NETWORKING AND KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE ($750 - $1250)*

Recognition and Benefits

  • Opportunity to Address Audience
  • Electronic Mailing List of Attendees
  • Event Emails
  • Event Handouts
  • Program Webpage
  • Social Media Promotion
  • Sponorship Sign

*Subject to the cost of the event.

MEDA is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit.

Join MEDA

The Michigan Economic Developers Association exists to increase members' knowledge and understanding of economic development.

Since 1960, MEDA has provided services and programs that enable our members to be more effective in attracting and retaining business that provide quality employment for communities around the state. MEDA primarily focuses on giving members opportunities to learn, advocate, and network for the benefit of Michigan's economic growth. Our efforts help economic developers make Michigan a better place to work, live and play.

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Corporate Sponsors

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Contact Us

Michigan Economic
Developers Association
P.O. Box 15096
Lansing, MI 48901-5096
PH: 517-241-0011
meda@medaweb.org