39 businesses move into Flint’s Ferris Wheel, sparking the city’s growth

39 businesses move into Flint’s Ferris Wheel, sparking the city’s growth

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 Ferris Wheel welcomes 39 new members to Flint’s business incubator and innovation center. Photo by Alvin Brown

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.

Entrepreneurs from a broad variety of business sectors and backgrounds gather at the Ferris Wheel opening. Photo by Alvin Brown

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:

21 Performance, a policy and management consulting company operated by former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling

-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

Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

Flint City Church

-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

Kildee for Congress

-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

Mayor Karen Weaver commented that the center gives area entrepreneurs what they want and need most, which is low-cost access to business support systems and services, and a city that is supportive of small business growth. Photo by Alvin Brown

“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.







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