What is a SmartZone?

Smartzones are Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) programs across the state of Michigan. They provide distinct geographical locations where technology-based firms, entrepreneurs, and researchers locate in close proximity to all of the community assets that assist in their endeavors. SmartZone technology clusters promote resource collaborations between universities, industry, research organizations, government, and other community institutions, growing technology-based businesses and jobs. New and emerging companies in SmartZone technology clusters are primarily focused on commercializing ideas, patents, and other opportunities surrounding the corporate, university, or private research institute R&D efforts.

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Our History

The Sault Ste Marie SmartZone was established in 2008. An application for a SmartZone status and operation began in December 2008. The SSMart SmartZone was initially managed by Lake Superior State University (LSSU). Because of financial and metrics performance, the City took over the operation and delegated the daily management to the EDC. The Sault Ste Marie brand was discontinued in 2018 with all requests going to the EDC. 

In the fall of 2022, in partnership with the MEDC, a local group in Sault Ste Marie began working to revitalize the SmartZone. Seeing the value in the services, funding support and community support it provides, the group started working on rebranding and reviving the Sault Ste Marie SmartZone. There began Headwaters North SmartZone.

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Why We're Here