MEDC 2021 in Review: A Year of Impact across Michigan

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

• Historic legislation signed into law creating new programs, appropriating $1 billion to drive economic growth across Michigan • Business expansion and community revitalization projects supported by the Michigan Strategic Fund in fiscal year 2021 are projected to create nearly 14,000 jobs across the state, leverage more than $3.7 billion in total private investment • Continued support of small and mid-sized businesses through MEDC grants, technical assistance and signature Industry 4.0 initiative

LANSING, Mich. – As 2021 draws to a close with the signing into law of historic, bipartisan economic development programs, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has continued to build on the momentum around economic development actions taken throughout the year that lay the foundation for continued economic opportunity in 2022 and beyond. With a focus on delivering economic wins that provide a more equitable and resilient economy for all Michigan residents, MEDC is rallying toward greater economic prosperity through business retention and attraction efforts, ongoing support for small businesses and Michigan’s entrepreneurs, community revitalization initiatives, and ongoing campaigns to market Michigan as a top destination for businesses and leisure travelers alike.

“Through 2021, we have worked together to put Michiganders first by creating good-paying jobs, investing directly in communities, and furthering initiatives that will ensure long-term economic opportunity in the state,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “With our new economic development programs that are a result of us coming together across the aisle to empower MEDC’s success, Michigan can grow and attract billions in investment and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. As we enter 2022, we are prepared to secure economic prosperity across Michigan for years to come.”

Key highlights of 2021 are below, and read the full MEDC 2021 year in review here: 2021 in Review: Rallying toward greater economic prosperity across Michigan.

“MEDC has remained committed to taking a holistic, people-first approach to economic development this year while securing Michigan’s leadership in the industries that will drive our economy into the future. We have proven Team Michigan works together when it comes to securing the economic future of the state,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “From the projects and initiatives we have supported, to the approval of historic legislation to advance future job growth in the state, this past year demonstrates our laser-focus on ensuring Michigan’s economic recovery is felt by all of our 10 million residents, while continuing to prove we are a global home for opportunity for businesses of all sizes. And we will keep building our economic wins in 2022.”

Bipartisan Package of Bills Signed into Law Create Vital Programs to Boost Michigan’s Efforts to Compete for, and Win, Transformational Projects in the State

On December 20, Gov. Whitmer signed a series of economic development bills providing competitive programs that invest in business retention and attraction to complement Michigan’s already undeniable strengths as a state. The package of bills vital to Michigan’s efforts to both compete for and win transformational projects here in the state was passed by the Michigan Legislature with strong bipartisan support. With funding appropriated at $1 billion, the programs will put the state in the strongest possible position to win projects that will create economic opportunity in the state for the next 20 years and beyond.

Michigan Remains a Top State for Foreign Direct Investment and Business Growth

Michigan remained a Midwest leader in its FDI jobs growth in 2021, as the only state in the region to rank among the top five for all categories in Global Business Alliance’s recent rankings. This, along with significant investments from foreign companies establishing or expanding in Michigan in 2021 demonstrates Michigan’s continued competitiveness across global markets to deliver key investments and wins for the state’s economy.

Over the past five years, global companies have invested $11.8 billion in projects throughout the state, creating 36,400 jobs here in Michigan. Investments from critical partners in the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, and others have supported significant job creation, while also building on Michigan’s strengths in automotive manufacturing, R&D, and mobility and electrification efforts. By working with these global partners, Michigan continues to outpace its regional competitors.

Continued Emphasis on Community Revitalization, Placemaking Efforts

In December, the Michigan Strategic Fund board approved two new placemaking programs that utilize federal funding and support placemaking efforts around the state. The Revitalization and Placemaking (RAP) program will deploy $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding to address impacts of COVID-19 through the development of permanent place-based infrastructure associated with traditional downtowns, social-zones, outdoor dining and placed-based public spaces. The MSF also approved a new Public Gathering Spaces Initiative to support the creation and expansion of public gathering spaces that allow residents to gather, relax, celebrate and commemorate safely together.

MEDC’s commitment to developing attractive places where talent wants to live and businesses want to be was underscored by a first-of-its-kind report released this year, finding that MEDC’s focus on placemaking investments in Michigan communities make it a leader in place-based economic development. The report provides quantitative data demonstrating the significant impact these investments have on local communities. These findings build on a 2019 report, which also found that Michigan is a leader among benchmark states for staffing and funding its community development programs at the same level as traditional business development programs.

Big Support for Small Businesses

Michigan’s small businesses and entrepreneurial ecosystem play a vital role in attracting talent to live and work in small towns and big cities alike while serving as economic drivers of the state’s local communities. From providing access to capital, early-stage funding, B2B matchmaking opportunities and international export support, MEDC remained laser-focused on ensuring small businesses across Michigan received major support in 2021.

MEDC also led a signature initiative, partnering with Automation Alley and Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, to help small and mid-sized manufacturers prepare for the future of manufacturing, as Industry 4.0 technologies become increasingly relevant in workplaces around the world. In the first year of the Industry 4.0 initiative – which aims to help 50 percent of Michigan’s small and mid-sized manufacturers prepare to adopt these technologies by 2025 – the program exceeded initial goals by reaching more than 1,400 businesses through programming, events, training and matchmaking opportunities.

Making Its Mark

Michigan put the nation on notice as a home for Pure Opportunity for businesses of all sizes, as the fastest-growing state for venture capital investment with an increase in venture dollars from $300 million in 2016 to $3.1 billion last year.

Michigan has continued to receive national recognition for its economic momentum and business climate, landing the #11 spot in CNBC’s Top States for Business annual ranking, a 13-spot improvement in the ranking from 2019. In addition, according to a recent study from SmartAsset, the Kalamazoo-Portage metro area ranks #2 in the best places to work in manufacturing.

Pure Michigan, Pure Opportunity

The award-winning Pure Michigan advertising campaign returned to the airwaves on December 21, 2020, in time to launch the winter travel season. The campaign was designed to encourage travelers to safely get out and have a snow day, learn a new sport, and support the travel industry. The campaign continued through summer with “Catch Up,” while the fall campaign was aimed at inspiring scenic and urban exploration. This year’s winter campaign is currently running through the end of February 2022. MEDC also continued to remind Michiganders of the importance of supporting local businesses during the holidays and throughout the winter season with its “Support Local” messaging.

In addition, MEDC elevated its Pure Opportunity business marketing campaign, promoting Michigan as a world-class business destination, and also increasing awareness of the state’s strengths and opportunities for business growth, building a pipeline of new business leads that will help drive long-term economic growth in Michigan.

Looking Ahead to 2022

With the Michigan Legislature’s economic development bills written into law to cap off the year, transformational opportunities in MEDC’s pipeline, and an influx of federal funding and resources set to head the state’s way in the months to come – Michigan is poised to build on this success in the new year and beyond. As it did in 2021, MEDC will continue its mission to provide the 10 million-plus Michiganders across the state with the best direction toward a thriving economic future.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.