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Michigan honors small businesses at annual ‘Companies to Watch’ celebration

Successful small business owners and entrepreneurs have a common spirit of grit and determination that drives them to pursue success, regardless of industry or geography.

During National Small Business Week, April 29–May 5, small business owners and supporters gathered to celebrate the spirit of innovation, boldness and commitment along with special recognition of the impact of small businesses in shaping communities. In Michigan, the red carpet was rolled out at the 14th annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business awards gala, held Thursday, May 3, at the Lansing Center.

More than 80 businesses, including the 2018 “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” were honored. Described as the “Academy Awards for small businesses,” MCSB highlights small businesses’ positive and indelible impact on the Michigan economy.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Michigan economy, and these entrepreneurs from a range of industries reflect the state’s legendary innovative spirit,” said Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partner and funding supporter for the awards celebration.

Collectively, an estimated 866,000 small businesses in Michigan employ more than 1.8 million people. Michigan is recognized for its supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem with many companies taking advantage of the business-support services.

In addition to the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch, awards were presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), and SmartZones.

Nominees for the “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” list must be privately held, Michigan-based second-stage companies, with six to 99 full-time-equivalent employees. The businesses must generate $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue, or working capital from investors or grants.

From 2014-17, the Michigan 50 Companies generated $888 million in revenue and added 727 employees (both in Michigan and out of state); that’s a 58.7 percent increase in revenue and 83.3 percent increase in jobs, which translates into a 16.7 percent annual revenue growth and 22.6 percent annual growth in employees.

These companies project continued growth in 2018, with a 147.7 percent revenue increase and 29.7 percent growth in employees (both Michigan and out of state) compared to 2017. If projections hold, these companies will generate $1.27 billion in revenue and add 1,202 employees over the last five years—a 122.7 percent increase in revenue and 137.7 percent increase in jobs since 2009.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Michigan Celebrates Small Business is a partnership of the Michigan Small Business Development Center (Michigan SBDC), Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Edward Lowe Foundation, Small Business Association of Michigan, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Michigan Business Network.

Michigan Celebrates Small Business is made possible with the support from Consumers Energy, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, DTE Energy Foundation, AF Group, Rehmann, PNC Bank, Varnum Law, Consumers Energy, 307 Events, Technisch Creative, VISTAGE Michigan, Gordon Advisors P.C., Dean Transportation, Priority Health, and Dynamic Edge Inc.


Hanna Burmeister is marketing manager at the Michigan Small Business Development Center.

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