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Nick Manes

Nick Manes

Staff writer

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A recent decision by Toyota to move its North American purchasing department from Erlanger, Ky. to the Ann Arbor area clearly excited state officials who touted the selection as an affirmation of Michigan’s role as the center of decision-making in the automotive industry.

In its 2014 Small Business Taxation Survey, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) found a disproportionate amount of administrative burden is being placed on small business when it comes to both the complexity of the tax code and the amount of time spent on compliance. MiBiz spoke with Jeffrey Van Winkle, a member of Clark Hill PLC’s corporate practice group in Grand Rapids who is the 2014 chair of NSBA, about the survey findings and the prospects for tax reform.

Despite being decades ahead of the state’s craft breweries in coming to market, Michigan’s wine industry has yet to experience the same explosion in popularity.

Jason Markham says he’s learning many lessons these days about running a long-standing business in a highly competitive industry.

Co-owner Dan Perrin told MiBiz that the brewery seeks to begin making hard apple cider due to large demand for it, as well as a significant amount of gluten-free customers asking for the product.

Companies face difficulty in measuring a return on their investment in sending executives to trade shows: Rarely do the shows result in immediate new business. Still, businesses across the spectrum of industries continue to search for methods to ensure there is some sort of return on investment for having a presence at the events.

An Italian auto supplier plans to invest in new capacity by adding a West Michigan, MiBiz has learned.

Former three-term Michigan governor John Engler has been a long-time advocate for manufacturing — both in the state and around the country. He served for six years as president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers and is now president of Business Roundtable.

West Michigan’s fledgling medical device manufacturing cluster collectively offers the capabilities OEMs and startups need to commercialize new products, but no one company has all the solutions under one roof. For the sector as a whole to grow, the manufacturing executives say they’ve needed to embrace a spirit of collaboration with their competitors.

The combination of an improved business climate and an aging workforce has a number of West Michigan companies partnering with educational institutions and one another to ensure their future supply of talent.

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