Michigan’s economy was close to being decimated from a series of devastating events, hitting our manufacturing foundation well below the belt. We have seen situations similar to this before and have risen to the challenge. We are a unique sort in Michigan; we are proud, hardworking people whose determination and grit knows no end other than success. Included in this group are entrepreneurs, comprised of bright, forward thinking, motivated individuals working passionately towards reaching their varying goals and an opportunity to show the world the ingenuity they are able to provide, aiding in moving Michigan’s economy forward.
In Michigan, entrepreneurs are fortunate to have a strong support network and resources intended to aid in their success and, in turn, the success of Michigan as a whole. One of the many options available is Michigan SmartZones. The staff of the SmartZones work diligently in an effort provide almost limitless educational opportunities for the entrepreneur, from gatherings intended to maximize the capabilities of social media, to expert legal and financial consultations, to trade missions abroad and almost everything in between. Experienced business people are in place willingly providing expertise and mentoring, often volunteering their time. Commercialization and capital experts are employed to aid in simplifying what can be a complex network of their respective specializations.
Grant programs are available including the Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) and the Michigan DARPA Matching Funds Program (MD.MFP). The BAF works in tandem with the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC), selecting companies with high potential for success and ability to create positive economic impact in the region. Additionally, the MI-SBTDC provides low-cost or free workshops and consulting, providing expertise in a broad range of topics. The primary objective of the MD.MFP is to assist early-stage technologies along a path of commercialization while increasing the amount of federally sponsored (DARPA) research and development funding that comes into Michigan. In addition, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fine institutions of higher education associated with the Michigan SmartZones.
Although I am not an entrepreneur, I do have the privilege of working with men and women who are. I am thrilled to provide support to some of these entrepreneurs and direct them to available resources in an effort to return the region, and state, to a venue which outsiders value as much as I do as a proud Michigander! We are on the cusp of making wonderful things happen in Michigan once again. Let’s all continue our work to ensure the entrepreneur’s success, which in turn, will lead to success for us all! I am convinced our best days are still ahead!