Michigan continues to prove it’s the ideal place to do business

Courtney Overbey

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

From manufacturing to space technology, a skilled workforce and a culture of innovation are helping companies find success in Michigan.

When Inc. Magazine introduced the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America for 2020, 79 of those were from right here in Michigan, representing industries from space technology and engineering to professional services and manufacturing.

Long known as a global leader in the automotive industry, Michigan’s diverse and talented workforce is evident throughout the annual ranking with emerging industries as well as Michigan’s roots in automation and manufacturing represented from the metro areas of Detroit and Grand Rapids, to Portage and all the way up to Petoskey.

Michigan’s lead in the Midwest – ranking number four in the nation and first in the Midwest for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness – is a testament to many companies’ success, including Traverse City-based ATLAS Space Operations. The satellite telecommunications company that placed 102 on the Inc. 5000 list, connects spacecraft in orbit to antennas on the ground and then delivers that data to customers. Its goal to change the way an entire industry looks at space-based communications and data alike has led to the company’s 3,446 percent growth, inspiring confidence that it will continue reaching new heights in the years to come, especially with support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The insurance and professional and corporate services sector, another emerging industry in Michigan, grew twice as fast as the national industry over the past five years, with employment increasing 16 percent in Michigan compared to an 8 percent growth nationwide.

A digital rendering of Acrisure's new world headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids. When completed, the $33 million expansion is expected to add 400 new jobs to Michigan's growing insurance sector.

Cities like Lansing and Grand Rapids are growing hubs for insurance companies, like Acrisure, who placed in the top 2,000 in Inc’s ranking, at a 304 percent growth. The industry’s steady rise is playing a large role in the state’s economic momentum and success, as companies increasingly recognize the significant concentration of talent available for the insurance and professional services sector.

For companies thinking of expanding, Michigan’s culture of innovation, extensive R&D facilities, manufacturing expertise and high-tech talent are top of mind. Supply chain management software provider, Llamasoft Inc., invested $10.7 million to expand its Ann Arbor headquarters and create 70 jobs in 2019. The project was supported by a $515,790 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant that in 2020, would allow them to be named one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Since then, they were acquired in November by Coupa Software for $1.8 billion making them Michigan’s fifth unicorn company.

It’s no secret that the Great Lakes State is a place where companies are not only being created but are succeeding. Whether it is fintech or medical device technology, business leaders are confident in choosing Michigan due to its low cost of living, skilled trades workforce that ranks in the top 10 nationally and robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. The companies that make up the 172 percent median growth, 14,377 jobs created and $8.1 billion in revenue as highlighted by Inc. 5000, have transformed business partnerships into mentorships with the MEDC. For more information on how to engage with MEDC to support your own business, go to michiganbusiness.org/pure-partnership.

To learn more about why Michigan is an ideal place to do business, visit michiganbusiness.org.

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