Michigan Rises In Business Rankings, VC Funding
By Laura Cowan
Laura K. Cowan is a tech editor and journalist whose work has focused on promoting sustainability initiatives for automotive, green tech, and conscious living media outlets.
In mid-July, financial marketplace Credible ranked Michigan as #2 state in the nation for post-pandemic economic recovery, based on the economic recovery initiatives pushed by Governor Whitmer. These included the base for the Economic Jumpstart Plan, which involves critical support for small businesses, startups, and main street businesses who were often left out of business loans during the pandemic.
CNBC’s Top States for Business has now ranked Michigan #11 for 2021, which is a 13-ranking increase in just two years from 2019. According to the rankings, Michigan has improved its scores in education and infrastructure, and gets high scores in the categories of technology and innovation, cost of living, and cost of doing business.
“From our strengths in technology and innovation to a business-friendly environment and the Pure Michigan quality of life, Michigan has what it takes to build a championship economy,” said Quentin Messer, Jr. CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “CNBC’s Top States for Business Ranking shows we are moving in the right direction with a 13-spot jump to #11. This is significant progress, but trust and believe we will not stop working alongside our regional and industry partners to put Michigan in that #1 spot and to ensure all Michiganders are realizing the full benefit of our thriving economy.”
The annual ranking was not released in 2020, so numbers in 2021 are to be compared with the most recent rankings published in 2019. The ranking system evaluates 10 categories of competitiveness. In 2021, the cost of doing business and infrastructure categories took on more weight for the CNBC rankings, and Michigan did well in those categories.
Forbes has been publishing news about Michigan's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem for several years now. It may come as a surprise to anyone outside the tech startup space that Michigan is a top state for startup resource support, and has made great strides in recent years in cultivating an ecosystem for new businesses to succeed. Between the MEDC, Smartzones, and other business support organizations across the state of Michigan, as well as partnerships between universities, venture capital firms, and startup incubators or accelerators, Michigan has spent the last 10 years increasing the support available to startup founders and new business owners while still supporting traditional industries such as advanced manufacturing and automotive.
According to CNBC, “Truly competitive states prize innovation, nurture new ideas, and have the resources to support them.” Michigan has worked hard to bridge the gap between great talent and support for starting a business, and has also intentionally worked to nurture a culture in which researchers who discover scientific breakthroughs or invent new technology have the resources to bring those inventions to the world through commercialization. Michigan scored high in the technology and innovation category, which looks at factors including patents issued per capita, and continues to be a top ranked location for talent such as engineering. Where is Michigan still lagging? Education. CNBC gives the state a D in K-12 education, indicating a gap in the early talent pipeline and possible problems for the future economy of the state that still need to be addressed.
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