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221 Felch
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Lauren Maloney

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
CifyFARM staff will make a habit of attending various networking events relating to general business and the farming/gardening/landscaping industry.
What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are great places to start an urban farming business because so many people are already interested in growing and buying local, organic food. The idea of turning grass into food production is not a foreign concept and many people have vegetable gardens or shop at the farmers market already.
Name an idea, policy or mindset from elsewhere that you would like to see this region adopt?
Ann Arbor is progressive in the realm of sustainable agriculture, but more can always be accomplished. I’d like to see untraditional places such as roof top and commercial building grounds grow food. Food production on roofs in New York City is becoming very popular and I know that is something that CityFARM can help bring to Ann Arbor in the future.
What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
I believe the greatest growth possibilities are in university supported research spin offs. The best time to start a business is when you are young and either still in college or just having graduated from college. You don't have a mortgage or a family to support and you can work for long periods for low pay (something every new entrepreneur will surely experience). Local Leaders should increase the funding course available for these types of startup businesses.

It's often said that Metro Detroit and Michigan need to reinvent their economies to be competitive. Are we making those changes, and if so are we making enough of them or doing it fast enough?
Metro Detroit's problems are extremely complex. We need both new companies and we need communities that are desirable to live in so that our new companies can attract and retain talent. For Detroit in particular I really see that coming together for downtown. It seems like there is more going on in Downtown Detroit right now than in the past 30 years combined. When I first started Beal Inc. our construction contracting firm we did little work in the City of Detroit, but the past three years have been completely different. Over the past three years we have done most of our work in Detroit and in downtown in particular.

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