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Chamber’s Devon O’Reilly Visits Boston to Explore Leading Innovation Accelerators

MICHauto’s Devon O’Reilly, director of entrepreneurship and PlanetM Landing Zone, recently made a trip to Boston to visit two renowned innovation hubs. Greentown Labs and the Cambridge Innovation Center are both models for successful coworking and startup communities.

Greentown Labs is the largest cleantech startup incubator in the U.S. providing coworking, wet lab, machine shop, and warehouse spaces for more than 100 members. Similarly, the Cambridge Innovation Center is a globally recognized innovation community having served more than 5,000 companies in a plethora of industries as of 2018.

This visit offered important learnings for Detroit’s startup community and accelerators like PlanetM Landing Zone.

Density

A key factor to the success of both communities is the density of startups, partners, and resources they provide. The Cambridge Innovation Center even refers to itself not as an accelerator, but a concentrator. This density offers immense opportunity for collaboration and the exchange of ideas among members and the surrounding business community.

Campus-Style Set Up

These innovation hubs go beyond coworking office space to utilize a full campus of multiple buildings and locations within a one-square-mile, walkable footprint. This variety of spaces and facilities allows for dedicated use of resources and interaction between organizations and industries that normally wouldn’t have been in contact.

Sense of Community

What sets organizations like Greentown Labs and the Cambridge Innovation Center apart is the community they create. The density and campus-style set up mentioned before contributed to a more plugged in, connected network of entrepreneurs, service providers, and ideas that benefit all involved. Creating these ecosystems serves not only to support the success of existing members, but also to make entire regions attractive to new investment and business opportunities.

MICHauto will continue to conduct research like this to gather best-practices and benchmark strategies that can support the continued growth and success of the entrepreneurial economy here in Detroit.