Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors Scores 28 Business Successes in 2008

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PONTIAC, Mich., Jan. 8, 2009 – Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors® business development strategy bucked the troubled economy in Michigan and the nation, finishing its best year ever with 38 new or expanding companies, generating nearly a quarter of a billion dollars of new investment and more than 8,400 jobs.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who created and launched the program in 2004 as a way to diversify Oakland County’s economy and offset the loss of manufacturing jobs, said he was thrilled and gratified by the overwhelming success of the program.

“Michigan has been the epicenter of economic distress for longer than we care to admit,” Patterson said. “Emerging Sectors has been the consistent ‘good news story’ for five years. I’m encouraged these companies have made a commitment to Oakland County and the state. They have created thousands of high-paying, highly-skilled jobs. These successes employ our work force, support our cities and townships, our schools and businesses, and are laying the foundation that will attract other companies to Oakland County and Michigan.”

The final two successes of 2008 are: Global Wind Systems, an alternative energy company in Novi. Its $32 million investment will create 356 jobs. The other was HoMedics, a medical device company in Commerce Township, whose $11 million investment will create 62 new jobs.

Since its inception in 2004, Emerging Sectors has had 102 successes – a company that is either new to Oakland County or expands operations here – and investment of almost $1.2 billion. More than 14,500 new jobs have been created and another 5,661 jobs were retained. It has also generated property taxes of more than $29 million and county taxes of $2.6 million.

In May, 2008, Crain’s Detroit Business and Charter One Bank sponsored the “Emerging Sectors $1 Billion Celebration” at the Cranbrook Institute of Science to honor the 70 companies responsible for the first billion dollars of investment.

The program was created to help diversify Oakland County’s economy and help offset the loss of manufacturing jobs and uncertainty in the auto industry. In 2004, there were four successes, eight in 2005, 20 in 2006, 31 in 2007, and 38 in 2008.

“This is a program that can be replicated around the state,” Patterson said. “We’re facing a tough economy in 2009 but we’re challenging the conventional wisdom. We’re going to create even more jobs.”

Emerging Sectors targets industries in the following categories: Advanced Electronics and Control, Alternative Energy and Power Generation, Biotechnology, Communications and Information Technology, Fast Growth (finance and health care), Homeland Security, Medical Devices and Instrumentation, Nanotechnology, and Robotics and Automation. Film and aerospace were recently added as targeted industries.

The county also tracks growth in traditional sectors. For 2008, there was investment of more than $115 million from 60 companies resulting in nearly 3,200 jobs. In 2007, 14 companies generated investment of $124 million and created about 2,200 jobs.

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