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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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Most outlooks predict improved economic performance for both the U.S. and Michigan in 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.

Even with $91 billion in economic impact, agriculture somewhat flies under the radar as a major industry in Michigan. However, the combination of a diverse array of crops, relatively supportive politicians and the prospect for good weather makes for opportunities for growth in the state’s ag sector.

An active participant in the statewide discussion of energy and the environment, Grand Rapids attorney Bruce Goodman serves as secretary for the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and is a founding member of the West Michigan Energy Group.

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.

The automotive market has been shaping up mostly as expected for 2013 with sales at around 15.6 million units and production at 16.2 million units, says Mike Wall, an automotive analyst at IHS Automotive in Grand Rapids. 

One industry watcher sees business picking up for the office furniture sector looking ahead into 2014, following an easing in orders and shipments in the third quarter of 2013.

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