MOUNT PLEASANT, MI — Central Michigan University Research Corp., which offers professional coworking space and accelerator programs for entrepreneurs, got its start in Mount Pleasant nearly 20 years ago and has been growing and expanding throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region ever since.
And for more than a decade, president and CEO Erin Strang has led the charge.
Strang, who has served as president and CEO of CMURC for 12 years, reflected on the organization’s work and her career during a recent interview with MLive/The Saginaw News.
CMURC, a nonprofit organization established in 2002, aims to advance economic development in the Great Lakes Bay Region. It expanded into Bay City in 2017, in Saginaw in 2018 and in Midland in 2020.
“We have our four locations throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region that have coworking space, and we’ve really worked on creating an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem between those four locations,” Strang said. “Entrepreneurs, professionals and corporations, we’re kind of an office where you need it.”
That’s one part of what CMURC does.
“The other part is an accelerator program designed to get companies and businesses started, so from traditional businesses to innovative product businesses to high-tech companies,” Strang said. “We work with all types to get them up and running and build a solid foundation and be successful.
In 2020, CMURC served 556 companies, which directly led to the creation of 65 new companies, 373 new jobs and $3,454,920 in investment. In addition, 644 connections among companies were facilitated with 148 results, according to the organization’s 2020 impact report.
CMURC has four CoWork locations throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region in Mount Pleasant Saginaw, Bay City and Midland. Strang, who grew up in a small town, attended Lake Superior State University, and has worked in Lansing and Detroit, said the Great Lakes Bay Region offers something larger markets don’t.
“What I really enjoy about the Great Lakes Bay Region is, even though it does span four counties, it really is a welcoming area in which it feels like home everywhere you go,” Strang said. “Whether you’re going from one place to another, businesses and community, everybody just really supports each other.”
When asked to offer career advice to women in the spirit of Women’s History Month, Strang replied, “You have to own your time and do something impactful with it, whatever that may be.”
Learn more about CMURC at www.cmurc.com.