Kalamazoo City
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SmartZone

An important and highly productive partnership has been formed between the City of Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University and Southwest Michigan First that is centered at the Business, Technology and Research (BTR) Park, adjacent to WMU's new College of Engineering.

The BTR Park has been designated by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) as one of eleven "SmartZones" in the state for the purposes of joint marketing and networking to promote Michigan as a leader in technology-driven business development and job creation.

The goal of Kalamazoo's SmartZone is to create a recognized cluster of new and emerging businesses that specialize in life sciences, advanced engineering and high technology industries.

The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center is a newly-constructed, state-of-the-art business incubator facility at the BTR Park that focuses on the commercialization of ideas, patents and other opportunities generated not only at the university but also by research and development efforts in the private sector.

A key role of the city in the SmartZone initiative has been to establish and administer a Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) for the BTR Park.

Utilizing the special designation of "Certified Technology Park," Kalamazoo's LDFA was created in 2001 with a maximum 15-year duration to support park infrastructure, business development/recruitment and the operations of the Innovation Center through tax increment financing.

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