August 16 seminar looks at permits, licensing and zoning requirements in City of Flint; repurposing neglected areas could trigger city-wide transformation

Media contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications; 248-260-8466;

Flint, Mich. — Aug. 7,  2017 — Flint-based Social Impact Philanthropy and Investment (SIPI), a platform for change providing business and operational services to social enterprises and nonprofits, as well as implementation and administration of government programs, is partnering with the Michigan Small Business Development Center to present a workshop  entitled Discover Flint: Opening or Locating a Business in Flint. The event will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Oak Business Center, 2712 N. Saginaw Street in Flint.

With a focus on leveraging one of Flint’s greatest community resources – land – SIPI President and COO Jason Ball will facilitate discussion on the City’s master plan, zoning ordinances and specific areas within the City that have the greatest potential for business development.

“As Flint enters the recovery phase of the water crisis, it’s time to turn our efforts to untapped business opportunities that exist in the City of Flint,” Ball said. “This workshop is a great conversation starter for entrepreneurs and existing businesses who want to explore the possibilities offered by a legacy city like Flint. Fundamentally, Flint needs new businesses to hire people and pay taxes.”

Legacy cities, a special focus of SIPI, are urban cities generally found in the Midwest that have lost at least 20% of their population since peaking in the 1950’s, yet still have a population of 50,000 or more and retain some vibrancy and economic potential. Michigan’s legacy cities include Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, Saginaw and Warren.

Workshop attendees will receive information on acquiring property from the Genesee County Land Bank, connecting with key City of Flint departments, business resources available through the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce and a community resource guide for starting a business in Flint.

Ball is an experienced facilitator and consultant, having worked with a wide range of nonprofits, universities, local governments, and state agencies to drive community and economic development projects throughout Michigan. Prior to joining SIPI, he was the Director of Client Services for an economic development consulting firm in Lansing. Ball holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Grand Valley State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and has completed National Charrette Institute Certification. He is also a member of the Michigan Association of Planning’s government relations committee, and has served as chair since 2014.

There is no charge to attend Discover Flint: Opening or Locating a Business in Flint. To register for the workshop, or for more information, please visit the Michigan Small Business Development Center website or call 810-762-9660.

Separately, Ball and SIPI CEO Steve Wolbert are participating in the Michigan State University 2017 project on Social Entrepreneurship in Legacy Cities, offered through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI). Their co-learning project is Defining and Advancing Social Enterprise in Michigan’s Legacy Cities and will be presented at the Innovate Michigan! Summit on Friday, Sept. 15 in East Lansing.

About Social Impact Philanthropy and Investment (SIPI)

Flint, Mich.-based Social Impact Philanthropy and Investment (SIPI) was founded as a platform for change in 2015 to transform legacy cities into economic hubs of opportunity for all.  Working with social enterprises and nonprofits, SIPI’s services include operations, human resources, finance, data analysis, fundraising, contract negotiations, strategic planning, training and community development to help build self-sustaining organizations.  SIPI also implements and administers community-focused programs for local, state and federal agencies. Learn more at