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Connect Michigan Releases Small Business Technology Report

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LANSING — A new report from the broadband advocacy group Connect Michigan indicates that Michigan small buisnesses that use broadband have revenues three times small businesses that don’t.

The report, “Broadband: Empowering Small Businesses to Grow and Thrive,” is online at www.connectmi.org/policy.   “Michigan businesses with less than 20 employees provide 30 percent of Michigan’s jobs,” said Eric Frederick, State Program Manager for Connect Michigan. “Broadband andtechnology can help these establishments remain prosperous and grow creating a stronger and more robust Michigan economy.”

Key findings from this report:
* About two out of three Michigan businesses with fewer than 20 employees use broadband, which is significantly lower than among larger Michigan businesses
* Fewer than half of small Michigan businesses have Web sites, and they are also significantly less likely to allow their employees to telework or use Voice over Internet Protocol to communicate compared to businesses with 20 employee or more
* Nearly four out of five broadband-connected businesses with fewer than 20 employees (79 percent) go online to buy or place orders for products or services, the most popular online application among these businesses
* Broadband-connected Michigan businesses with fewer than 20 employees report median annual revenues of approximately $300,000, compared to just $100,000 among similarly-sized competitors that do not use broadband
* Statewide, nearly three out of ten (29 percent) businesses with fewer than 20 employees earn at least some of their revenues from online sales; on average these businesses earn about one-third (34 percent) of their revenues from online transactions
* Statewide, businesses with fewer than 20 employees generate nearly $6.9 billion in online revenues for Michigan
* Availability is the main barrier reported by one in ten small Michigan businesses that do not subscribe – this translates into approximately 6,000 Michigan businesses that could go online if broadband were available to them

The report was released Thursday at the Michigan Collaborative Broadband Committee meeting in Lansing.

The CBC is a group of representatives from K-12 education, higher education, broadband service providers, non-profits, tourism, business, agriculture, government, and other organizations that have an interest in improving Michigan’s broadbandavailability and encouraging meaningful adoption.

“High-speed broadband is an essential catalyst for the growth and expansion of small businesses here in the state of Michigan,” said Tremaine Phillips, chief program officer with the Lansing-based Prima Civitas Foundation. “Cloud computing and telecommuting can greatly reduce the capital expenditures of small businesses and start-ups. While ultra-high-speed broadband is becoming increasingly available, businesses that are unable to utilize these tools are placed at a competitive disadvantage globally.”

As a public-private partnership, Connect Michigan partners with technology-minded businesses, government entities and universities to accelerate technology in the state. The work of Connect Michigan is made possible by support from the Michigan Public Service Commission. For more information about what Connect Michigan is doing to accelerate technology in Michigan’s communities, visit www.connectmi.org.

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