Innovation & Emerging Markets

To help Michigan’s economy grow and thrive, we actively work to diversify Michigan’s economic sectors by incubating and launching new industries. Read a roundup of our food and agriculture projects here. Contact Arnold Weinfeld for more information.

Michigan Supply Chain Innovation Summit:

Virtually every company and every job is affected by the supply chain. Co-hosts Prima Civitas and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) brought together some of the world’s best supply chain practitioners — industry experts and professionals who are pushing the boundaries in complexity management, talent development and leadership,and omni-channel supply chain integration. The Aug 30-31, 2015 event at The Henry Ford and Ford Conference Center was an excellent opportunity for business leaders looking for insights into logistics and supply chain innovations beyond the horizon of current best practices. Details are at Our planning team and faculty for the event included Dr. David Closs, chair of MSU’s #1 ranked Supply Chain program. Click the following link to hear a Michigan Business Network interview with Dr. Closs about the Summit, and what keeps supply chain leaders up at night:

Redevelopment Ready Communities:

MEDC contracted with Prima Civitas to develop a financial sustainability component to the Best Practices criteria in the Redevelopment Ready Communities program. The final version of the component has been completed, and submitted by the MEDC. For more information, contact

Design Michigan:

Prima Civitas is facilitating a study of the Michigan design industry with partner organizations. Design Michigan is a collaborative consortium of 11 organizations whose goal is to establish and sustain Michigan as the leading design state in the U.S. Its objectives are to enrich practice, innovation and collaboration by connecting design professionals from diverse fields; to advocate; to educate; to promote and to connect Michigan-based design talent with global markets. Founding organizations include Kendall College of Art & Design; American Institute of Architects; AIGA Detroit; AIGA West Michigan; American Society of Interior Designers-Michigan; Design West Michigan; Detroit Creative Corridor Center; Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum; Industrial Designers Society of America-Michigan; International Interior Design Association-Michigan; Michigan State University School of Planning, Design & Construction and Prima Civitas. Contact Arnold Weinfeld at
The Makers Coalition:

We’re working to re-establish the industrial cut and sew industry and workforce in Michigan. Prima Civitas is acting as lead organization for a national coalition comprised of business, education, workforce development and nonprofits. Contact Mary ZumBrunnen at

Fresh Food Access in Lansing Schools and North Side Neighborhoods:

Prima Civitas will conduct a Healthy Lansing Food Hub Business Model and Feasibility Study through a USDA grant program to strengthen local and regional food systems, boost affordable access to local, fresh food, create opportunity for small- and mid-size producers, and benefit the health of all Americans. Prima Civitas will bring together urban and rural farmers, non-profits, educational and community organizations to offer joint resources. The project will help coordinate up to 900 area farms’ product aggregation and distribution to support school lunch provision in an area where about 30% of the population lives in poverty, and 100% of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. For information, contact

Grand Rapids Food District Redevelopment:

Prima Civitas is leading a team of partners to create a plan for the City of Grand Rapids to develop innovative ways to utilize excess water supply through food industry redevelopment, packaging, bottling, and fermentation. The study is underway with employers and other stakeholders. For more information, contact

MDARD Strategic Growth Initiative:

With MDARD SGI funding, Prima Civitas has developed the “Michigan Agricultural Talent Pipeline Research and Development” project, which aims to attract more talent to small- and mid-sized farms. The project involves assessing challenges, opportunities and barrier, including cultural perspectives, and wage and career path stereotypes. Contact Mary ZumBrunnen at

Saginaw County Food Access:

Prima Civitas is working with SVRC Industries, Inc, to conduct two feasibility studies gauging the economic benefits of Downtown Saginaw Farm Market relocation and expansions, as well as food hub creation to spur local aggregation and distribution. The goal is to improve local purchasing channels and food access. Funding is being pursued for new market studies to increase local specialty crop sales to institutional, wholesale and retail buyers. Downtown Saginaw Farm Market relocation and food hub development will directly result in employment creation and is an innovative business solution addressing community health, employment creation, agribusiness profitability and food security. Contact Mary ZumBrunnen at

Saginaw Specialty Crop Block Grant:

With a USDA grant award, Prima Civitas and partners will facilitate an educational workshop series offering marketing, business capacity expansion and financial literacy to farmers in Saginaw county; provide mid-Michigan food hub communications; perform purchasing research; and connect specialty crop producers. Partners include Saginaw county Extension Service, Ingham County Extension Service and SVRC Industries. Contact Mary ZumBrunnen at

Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM):

Prima Civitas is contracted to provide local food system research, policy recommendations, communication assistance and programming updates. Read our blog, “Food Forward MI: Food Hubs Expanding Local Food Access”

Michigan Economic Center:

The Michigan Economic Center at Prima Civitas is a place for ideas, and a network of state and local leaders and citizens working to advance a vision for Michigan’s economic renewal, with particular focus on Michigan’s “blue” (water) and “green” (sustainable) economic opportunities. MEC engages and supports a diverse network of citizens, leaders, and organizations in advancing the vision, making ideas for a more competitive, innovative, and global Michigan a reality. Contact John Austin at MEC.