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eMacomb - Featured Article, Fall 2014

Macomb County launches new initiative to attract international businesses

Yet another program designed to support business growth is officially open at the Velocity Collaboration Center.

The Michigan Defense Center’s International Landing Zone is officially open for business at the Velocity Collaboration Center, home to the Macomb-OU INCubator (Mac-OU INC), adding yet another offering to the multitude of Velocity's defense-assistance opportunities.

The International Landing Zone is a collaborative effort of Macomb County with partners Mac-OU INC and the Michigan Defense Center.  Strategically located in Michigan’s defense corridor, it provides space and support for global companies with proven technologies in the defense and homeland security industries to establish an office and explore the feasibility of expanding their operations in the United States.

Aside from providing up to six months of complimentary space and access to resources, incoming companies will work with Mac-OU INC Executives-in-Residence and Business Advisory Mentors to assess and develop goals and receive capital-raise assistance; introductions to Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security potential customers, major buying commands, major defense contractors, and international expertise and customized programs to assist companies entering a new foreign market; business attraction services at the state, county and local level; and business development trainings and workshops.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the landing zone was in conjunction with “Michigan Defense Industry Matters” at the Velocity Center, an event that showcased CBS Detroit’s Carol Cain moderating a panel of top defense-industry professionals, including Major General Gwen Bingham, commander of TACOM Life Cycle Management Command at the Detroit Arsenal; Scott Badenoch Sr., founder and CEO of Badenoch, LLC; Sonya Sepahban, senior vice president of Engineering, Development and Technology at General Dynamics Land Systems; and Sean Carlson, director of the Michigan Defense Center. Additional featured speakers included Julie Gustafson, executive director of Mac-OU INC, highlighting the incubator’s defense focus.

Other possible support includes access to the Michigan Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Matching Funds Program (MD.MFP), administered by Mac-OU INC.  The objective of the program is to assist early-stage technologies along a path of commercialization while increasing the amount of federally-sponsored DARPA research and development funding that comes to Michigan.

Macomb County companies have been awarded as much as 63 percent of all defense contracts awarded in Michigan over the last ten years.  Home to TACOM LCMC, TARDEC, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, industry giants with major operations in the county include General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE, Oshkosh, Waltonen and Wyle.  In fact, as many as 600 companies based in Macomb County have been awarded more than $26 billion in defense contracts over the last decade.