Investment in entrepreneurship program has created jobs, strengthened economy

David Murray

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Study points to success, offers recommendations to foster innovation, growth

Michigan’s investments in the 21st Century Jobs Trust Fund’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program have helped diversify the state’s economy and created jobs during the last decade, according to a study commissioned by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

But, the report warns, the state’s economy is at a crossroads, and investments in innovation and entrepreneurship should continue to help Michigan moving forward, and see state businesses creating more and better jobs.

The MEDC commissioned the report to look at the effectiveness of the program over 10 years, review what is in place now and consider ways to improve as we move forward. Completed by TEConomy Partners LLC, the report includes 11 recommendations that can be considered by the MEDC or local agencies through Smart Zones or other approaches.

“Michigan’s economy has made impressive gains as companies grow, creating more and better jobs,” MEDC CEO Steve Arwood said. “It’s important for us to have outside groups study what we’ve done to create an environment for economic success and measure the effectiveness of programs so we know how we can continue. We want our state to be thriving not just in the short term, but for decades to come.”

Among the report’s findings:

  • Michigan has made great strides since 2005, when it was considered a “flyover” state by national venture capitalists, and most of the funding that did exist in the state often left to invest elsewhere. 

    Today, a robust entrepreneurial-service delivery system is in place that provides regional services through regional models targeted at meeting more localized needs, as well as statewide through Michigan’s SBDC Tech Team program. 

    Since the 21st Century Jobs Trust Fund was created in 2005, $261.6 million has been invested in innovation and entrepreneurship efforts assisting nearly 1,400 companies and new start-ups. Of those, 1,073 companies are actively operating as of 2014. 

    Those companies directly employed 11,000 people in 2014, with estimated wages and benefits of nearly $879 million. The direct effect of the jobs is estimated to generate $3.2 billion in output and support nearly $48.4 million in state and local tax revenue. 

    Michigan’s universities are a key strength to be leveraged. Michigan’s standing with regard to R&D is still strong, but there are indications that this strength may be waning, and the state could lose ground to its competitors because of a lack of connection between industry and academia. 

The state should reinvest in its commitment to transition the state’s economy into a 21st century knowledge economy driven by innovation. 

To download the report, please click here: Michigan 21st Century Jobs Trust Fund--Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programs Impact and Effectiveness Study 

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