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If you’ve noticed that business owners look a little more rested over the last year, there may be a good explanation.

Q&A: Gov. Rick Snyder

Written by | Sunday, 22 December 2013 22:15 |

As Michigan’s turnaround governor, Rick Snyder says the state’s progress depends on it executing on the fundamentals. But he believes the policies from the first three years of his term — including tax reforms and programs to support the state’s second-stage companies — simply set the table for the next phase: growth.

2014 according to West Michigan professionals

Written by | Sunday, 22 December 2013 22:10 |

For this year's Crystal Ball issue, we spoke with West Michigan professionals of all industries to get their outlook for the upcoming year.

The heads of West Michigan’s chambers of commerce are anticipating another year of growth for many of their members in 2014 — albeit with some concerns.

The real estate and development industry along with the related construction and design sectors continue to claw their way back to recovery.

More guidance on ACA expected in 2014

Written by | Sunday, 22 December 2013 21:28 |

2013 ushered in new mandates from the Affordable Care Act, many of which take effect for health policies renewing Jan. 1 or afterward. Next up in 2014 are more guidance and rules from federal agencies that will determine how the health care reform law gets implemented.

An outlook for continued economic growth across West Michigan comes with its share of challenges for the region’s economic development organizations.

M&A expected to pick up in 2014

Written by | Sunday, 22 December 2013 21:24 |

The coming year is shaping up to bring moderately higher M&A activity, generating more opportunity for sellers to exit their businesses and perhaps get a better price than they could a year or two ago.

Politicians and economic developers in Michigan want to make sure that the state has an educated workforce, but the leaders of universities in West Michigan said they are not getting the financial support they need to make this a reality.

The steady gains Michigan’s venture capital industry has made over the years are expected to continue into 2014, perhaps even bringing more of what experts in the field have long said is needed to accelerate growth: successful exits.

Bankers say they’re seeing greater confidence in the marketplace among business owners and consumers in West Michigan. In particular, manufacturing is hot right now and the housing market is coming back. They say 2014 could bring back the potential for a return of spec housing development.

Issues ranging from managing the implications of the Affordable Care Act to ushering in a sea change in the economic model for health care weigh on the minds of industry executives as they prepare for 2014.

As the state’s main marketing and economic development arm, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) works closely with its regional partners on business attraction and retention.

As state director for the Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) housed at Grand Valley State University, Carol Lopucki works closely with entrepreneurs looking to start a business, enhance their use of technology or find access to capital.

The Grand Rapids economy experienced broad-based growth across a range of sectors and performed well against peer regions in 2013, said George Erickcek, senior regional analyst for the Kalamazoo-based W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Before joining Newmark Grubb Cressy & Everett, Hurley served as real estate officer at Macatawa Bank. Prior to that, he was a commercial broker at several West Michigan firms.

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