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Economic Development (434)

The local authority charged with overseeing the Grand Rapids SmartZone incubator and accelerator wants to see more “churn” and better ROI from the life science companies that call the SmartZone home. To help achieve that goal, the 12-member Grand Rapids Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) in February issued a request for qualifications, inviting organizations to apply for the job of staffing and managing the Grand Rapids SmartZone.

Parting Shots - Key Stone

Written by | Wednesday, 22 February 2012 12:21 |

Speaking of job-centric, put this in your jobs pipe and have the Administration smoke it: TransCanada Corp. says its Keystone XL pipeline project is shovel-ready and the company is poised to put 20,000 Americans — pipe fitters, welders, mechanics, electricians, heavy equipment operators, etc — to work to construct the pipeline.

WEST MICHIGAN — Every “end of the world” prediction so far has been wrong. We are still waiting to see if the world will survive past 2012, thanks to the ancient Maya. Assuming they, too, will be wrong, MiBiz set out to find out what our world could be like in 2050, an arbitrary date to be sure, but the halfway point of the 21st century.

A Grand Rapids venture fund exceeded its first-year goals, both in funds raised from investors and investments made. Michigan Accelerator Fund I netted $9 million in commitments from investors during its first year, lifting the total capital that it will have available to $15 million. Launched in January 2011 with $6 million in state seed funding, the venture fund expected to raise $4 million from private investors.

TEDx Macatawa speakers announced

Written by | Monday, 13 February 2012 12:46 |

With backgrounds ranging from theater to medicine to art, the roster at March’s TEDx Macatawa is packed with speakers who will speak to different aspects of the event’s theme “Do More Good.”

The newest ideas from a coalition of corporate CEOs and university presidents seek to build on what Michigan already does well to drive employment and economic growth in the years ahead. Building on Michigan’s engineering and logistics acumen; growing the life sciences sector further; boosting agricultural processing and exports and tourism; strengthening higher education; and leveraging the auto industry’s legacy for new forms of transportation are the key elements of a “New Michigan” strategy rolled out by Business Leaders for Michigan.

I want to tell you about a great success story coming out of Battle Creek’s Downtown Transformation Initiative: the Global Food Protection Institute. 

Muskegon’s Blue Economy future?

Written by | Monday, 06 February 2012 12:22 |

Muskegon is sitting on a gold mine, and it is colored “blue.” That is a major part of the message that John C. Austin, director of the Brookings Institution Great Lakes Economic Initiative, delivered to the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 27. Austin joined W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research’s George Erickcek in a joint presentation on Muskegon’s economic outlook.

Fast-track growth that powered the American economy in the 1990s has vanished, but business leaders determined to increase sales and hire more employees can achieve their dreams by “growing global.”

The $100,000 was nice. But just as valuable to Barry Nowak were the connections he made by participating in the 2011 Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest, an annual business plan competition that provides capital to young businesses in the state that can prove their mettle to judges.

Parting Shots - Mitten Power

Written by | Monday, 23 January 2012 11:22 |

Speaking of action, it is beginning to look like federal leaders should actively turn their solution-searching eyes toward Michigan, where a notable economic turnaround is underway and gaining traction, sparked in large part because of our simmering manufacturing renaissance.

Companies in West Michigan have been increasingly focusing on how to help ex-criminal offenders, some of the region’s most disadvantaged workers, find a path to meaningful employment.

The return of the charitable tax credits. Community foundations along with public museums, universities, food banks and many others have been able to offer their donors credits to their Michigan Income Tax liability.

Some of the best business lessons come from making mistakes. Others come from recognizing prior bad experiences or maturing as a manager or as a company.

Don’t believe the Mayans

Written by | Tuesday, 10 January 2012 10:14 |

Happy 2012. While the Mayans are predicting really bad things for this year, we’re actually pretty bullish on the economy and opportunities for growth over the next 357 days.  Maybe it’s because we’ve been listening to local executives, economists and business owners rather than consulting a 5,125-year calendar. Whatever the reason, we’re glad to be off and running with our first edition of the New Year.

Over the next 12 months, Michigan’s and the nation’s economy should continue to improve. Many auto industry companies are making solid profits. They made consolidations and cuts. They should be able to hire more workers in 2012. The housing market may continue to lag. Banks may continue to use tight lending practices. Those factors could hamper the economy. So it is unlikely 2012 will be much better or different from 2011.

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