2012 is a LEAP Year

LEAP is a very young organization, but certainly LEAP’s time has arrived. It is exciting and exhilarating. There is no other way to say it other than this: LEAP has a newly focused mission on economic development (business development and entrepreneurship), extensive programming, new superstar economic development staff and new leadership.

LEAP is poised to seize upon the incredible momentum of our entire area and to truly accelerate our growing national reputation as an economic powerhouse region.

In the last year, Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) have split the state into 10 regions, each represented by a regional economic development organization. Your Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is representing Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties. Each month, I am privileged to sit at a table with nine of my counterparts from across the state, ranging in leadership from the Grand Rapids program, The Right Place, to Ann Arbor’s SPARK program, to discuss state economic development policies and progress with MEDC leadership.

Additionally, each month, the LEAP Tri-County Regional Economic Partners (L-TREP) work group meets to discuss regional economic development. I can then relay timely information from the MEDC in a back and forth format with local economic development partners. This communication will better help us to prioritize projects and properly package them to successfully compete for incentives, loans and grants from the MEDC, and to impact important policy initiatives.

In fact, our first L-TREP work group in January was the first of its kind to be held in the state.

How about this as another first for the new LEAP?

LEAP recently signed a Business Accelerator Fund contract with Tom Donaldson and the Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) of Lansing. Using MEDC monies, this unique program allows LEAP and the SBTDC to match up appropriate requests from local startup businesses with vendor services from the area, thus allowing business startups to enjoy critical services imperative to their early success (that they otherwise would not have been able to afford). Opti02 was the first business in the state to be approved for the first Business Accelerator award.

On the business development side of things, LEAP has also been busy on behalf of our region. In February, LEAP SVP Ray De Winkle traveled with Prima Civitas Foundation to Turkey to mine potential business relationships between our region and Turkey. After Brazil, Russia, India and China, Turkey is listed as one of the 11 emerging economies in the world.

In March, LEAP was one of three regional economic development organizations that traveled with Gov. Snyder on a mission to Germany and Italy to meet with prospect companies and international firms that have a presence here in Michigan and mid-Michigan.

These are the types of activities and programming you will see from LEAP as we continue to focus on our mission of true economic development.

If you’d like to read the PowerPoint that summarizes these dramatic changes, go to  www.purelansing.com/2012Plan.php and download the plan.

Bob Trezise is president and CEO of Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP, Inc.).








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