Nearly 40 local entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses and students moved into their new co-working digs at the Ferris Wheel building, the latest indicator of Flint’s attractive small business culture.
The new entrants join an entrepreneurial class of downtown business ventures that now tops 100, according to a recent TheHUB Flint audit. Published earlier this month the audit examined business growth along Flint’s Saginaw Street corridor since 2008.
“There’s an energy that comes from this type growth that we hope will be contagious,” says Roderick Miller, Flint’s incoming economic development director.
In the nine months since its official opening, the Ferris Wheel has breathed new life into Saginaw Street, attracting a broad cross-section of entrepreneurs. Co-working space is available for as little as $99 per month, which includes networking opportunities, along with conferencing facilities and other benefits.
This is the place where businesses with little capital and big ideas can come to grow, according to David Ollila, president and chief innovation officer at Skypoint Ventures, which renovated the building.
“It’s thrilling to see the innovation and novel thinking taking place at Ferris Wheel everyday where entrepreneurs work alongside each other, and with business experts, to advance and shape new ideas.”
Those businesses are very diverse and “don’t fit in one box,” points out Heather Kale, general manager at Flint Ferris Wheel. They come from many sectors and opportunities and will feed off each other as they work to grow together.
The new Ferris Wheel tenants include:
-Black, a marketing company
-Bleu Label Club, a Flint-based events company
–Catalyst Midwest, a Grand Blanc-based technology service provider
–Caudill Thornquist, a Grand Blanc-based insurance company
–Changing Productions, a Davison-based video production company
–Choice Office Products, a Flint-based office supply company
-Corporate Professionals Achieving Goals, a Flint-based consulting company
–Dayna Hull Attorney at Law, a Flint-based attorney
–Detroit 15, a-Detroit based advocacy organization focused on the minimum wage issue
-Dolls that Walk, a Flint-based modeling agency
-Forever Reign, an eyelash extension business
–Genesee Connects, a community concierge organization
–Guerra Paint and Stain, a Flint-based service firm
–Kalm Clothing, a Flint-based urban streetwear company
-LaBelle Werk, a modeling agency
–Mama Slays, a Flint-based platform supporting area moms
–MarxModa, a Detroit-based furniture dealer
–Mid MI Renovations, a Clio-Michigan based service company
-Mr. Chip Windshield Repair, franchise
–NorthGate, a Flint-based warehousing, packaging, processing and distribution center
–Peabody Insurance, a Fenton-based insurance company
–Play Frey Technology, a Flint-based web and app development company
–Pod Mod Photography, a Genesee Co-based photography studio
-Insurance and Investment Planning – Sam Cox
–RHL Group, a Holly-based financial services firm
–Sailor Mouth Yoga, a Flint-based yoga studio
-Schneider Electric, a Flint-based division of Schneider Electric
–State Bank, a Grand-Blanc based bank
–The Disability Network, a Flint-based advocacy organization
–They Yoga Loft, a Flint-based yoga studio
–UM-Flint Innovation Incubator, a Flint-based business incubator supported by UM-Flint
“Flint’s entrepreneurial community is rich with innovation and ambition, and we’re happy to help that spirit thrive at Ferris Wheel,” says Phil Hagerman, founder and co-owner at Skypoint Ventures.
The Flint Ferris Wheel project was completed late last year after recognizing the need and opportunity to support a growing, diverse community of entrepreneurs, innovators and businesses in Flint. Ferris Wheel brings those businesses together in the same facility to provide connectivity, synergy and opportunity for all.
Editor’s note: The $7.5-million Ferris Wheel development was funded with support from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Skypoint Ventures, C.S. Mott Foundation, University of Michigan-Flint and the Flint Downtown Development Authority.