Housing development opportunities will be a focus the 6th Annual I-69 Thumb Regional Summit when it convenes Sept. 21 at the Lapeer Country Club, 3786 Hunt Rd. in Lapeer.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSDHA) will roll-out a regional report on housing, as part of a panel discussion on housing development, said Janice Karcher, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.

Attendees will also hear about development tools and incentives from a panel of economic development professionals, during the half-day summit that will be held from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The day begins with a recap major projects and successes in the region over the past year.

Later that morning, the finals of the Catapult Business Plan Competition will be decided by a panel of judges, consisting of: Dom Holmes, Manager of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Automation Alley; Neal Bishop, Area Manager, Local Government and Community Affairs, International Transmission Co.; and Peggy Nolde, Director, Genesee County Equalization Board. The winners will be announced in the afternoon.

The first-place winners of the seven county-level competitions, held earlier this year, will make their final presentations to a panel of judges at the regional summit. The top prize is $5,000, with $3,000 for second place and $1,000 for third.

The contestants: Happy Little Greens Farm (Genesee County); Simply Enjoyable Snacks (Lapeer County); Imperial Sauces (Tuscola County); Kyle's Kindling (Huron County); Thumb Roast Coffee (Sanilac County); Smart Shelf (St. Clair County); and Town to Town Gourmet Pastries (Shiawassee County).

The competition was created last year to help entrepreneurs and small-business owners reach the next stage in growing their businesses. The prize money is designed to help winning contestants retain and grow Michigan businesses by providing capital to launch, expand production or hire staff.

The panel on Development Tools & Incentives will be moderated by Justin Horvath, President/CEO Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership. Panelists are:

  • Jen Nelson, Vice President of Public Policy and Economic Development, Business Leaders for Michigan
  • Valerie Christofferson, Regional Director, Retention and Growth, Michigan Economic Development Corp.
  • Paula Gromak, Area Specialist, USDA Rural Development
  • Jeff Deason, President/CEO, Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Housing Development panel will be moderated by Carl Osentoski, Executive Director, Huron/Sanilac Economic Development Corp., with panelists:

  • Glenn Wilson, President, Communities First, Inc.
  • Craig Patterson, Senior Vice President, The Woda Group, Inc.
  • David Allen, Chief Market Analyst, MSHDA

Those who would benefit from attending the Summit include regional businesses, educators, government officials and community stakeholders.

The I-69 Thumb Region is a partnership of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Lapeer Development Corporation, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, Sanilac & Huron County Economic Development Corporation and Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation.

There is no cost to attend the Summit, however registration is required.  To register, click here. For more information contact Julie Hipps at jhipps@flintandgenesee.org or (810) 600-1429.