Ann Arbor SPARK Outlines Success, Future Growth


tANN ARBOR — Ann Arbor SPARK detailed 2012 successes and its strategic plan for the coming year at its recent annual meeting. The company also presented the first ever Ann Arbor SPARK "Chairman Awards" for Volunteer Leader of the Year, Entrepreneurial Company and Project of the Year.

tThe organization reported that the companies it worked with in the last year created 628 new and retained 1,135 jobs in the Ann Arbor region. Those companies also invested $148 million in the region's economy. Ann Arbor SPARK also helped 63 companies start up in the region.

t"This past year was a banner year for Ann Arbor SPARK in terms of economic impact," said Paul Krutko, president and CEO. "Ann Arbor SPARK's work helped attract companies like Barracuda to downtown and expand companies like Terumo and Lyons Consulting Group. Through business accelerator activities, Ann Arbor SPARK assisted entrepreneurs in getting on the right road to success from their company's formation, providing a solid foundation on which these businesses can grow.  These companies are creating jobs and making investments in the region that ensure our long-term economic prosperity. "

tAnn Arbor SPARK also detailed its strategic plan for the coming year. The plan, which is focused on business acceleration, growth, and talent, is a roadmap for the region's continued economic expansion. In the strategic plan, the company commits to continuing to develop strong collaborative partnerships to deliver the services that businesses and those seeking employment in the region need now and long-term, Krutko said.

t"Ann Arbor SPARK's strategic plan is focused on the areas where economic development efforts can drive broader progress throughout the region," said Tim Marshall, Ann Arbor SPARK board chair and president and CEO of Bank of Ann Arbor.  "Through the activities in its strategic plan, Ann Arbor SPARK is affirming its commitment to working with its partners to address the region's most pressing economic challenges; addressing the needs of companies that want to grow and expand here and helping make connections between these businesses and job-seekers ensure the region's long-term economic success."

tThree leadership awards were presented at Ann Arbor SPARK's annual meeting. Bhushan Kulkarni, chairman of GDI Infotech and CEO InfoReady Corp., received the Volunteer Leader of the Year award, which recognizes his passion for economic development and efforts to grow the local economy. Global automotive supplier Faurecia was awarded Project of the Year for its new Saline facility, where the company is creating significant jobs and investment in the region. Compendia Bioscience, which was acquired in 2012 by biotech company Life Technologies, was awarded entrepreneurial company of the year for its use of SPARK's services to grow from start-up to successful venture.