MACKINAC ISLAND — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced five new initiatives under the Pure Michigan Business Connect umbrella at the Mackinac Policy Conference last week that will further help Michigan businesses grow and improve the state’s economy.
“These additions to Pure Michigan Business Connect significantly expand our economic gardening toolkit to grow our state’s economy,” said MEDC president and CEO Michael A. Finney. “Pure Michigan Business Connect provides new ways for companies to collaborate, create and take advantage of new growth opportunities. This is an essential tool as we reinvent the way business is done here.”
Launched at the 2011 Mackinac Conference by Gov. Rick Snyder, Pure Michigan Business Connect is a more than $8 billion, multi-year initiative to help Michigan companies grow. The multi-faceted program helps companies find new ways to raise capital, get access to various business services, and connect with each other with business-to-business procurement opportunities.
The new Pure Michigan Business Connect initiatives include:
* Develop Michigan Inc. – A $20 million, non-profit public-private partnership designed to bring unique financing tools and world-class financial expertise to large and complex community redevelopment projects.
* Grow Michigan LLC – A public-private partnership designed to fill capital gaps for small and medium sized, job creating businesses. It provides equity features to allow companies to finance aggressive growth strategies, restructure to optimize their cost of capital, and to assist companies in transitioning ownership through succession or acquisition.
* Michigan Corps/Kiva.org – The establishment of the first Michigan microloan program for Michiganders with funding from MEDC. This initiative will link socially minded individuals willing to lend small sums of money with prospective small business owners who will use those funds to build small businesses to improve their financial condition and the overall health of the local community. The effort is in cooperation with the R. L. Knight Foundation and is initially focused on the city of Detroit.
* Pure Michigan Business Connect business-to-business (B2B) network – A web-based B2B system that will link companies together to find collaborators, suppliers and new business opportunities. The network will include a directory of Michigan businesses and an online procurement marketplace where Michigan businesses may post procurement opportunities available for other Michigan businesses, and the participating businesses may search for opportunities posted by other companies.
* State Trade Export Program (STEP) and Export Now – Expanded export assistance that includes the STEP program – financial assistance for Michigan companies with fewer than 500 employees for export-related activities; and Export Now – an online platform for consumer-product companies in the state to sell their products directly to Chinese consumers. To date the STEP program has helped 119 small and medium sized businesses enter 41 new export markets. Export Now currently is working with 13 companies that are enrolled in or are interested in joining the program. A series of Export Now informational webinars is being planned for later this month.
Since its 2011 launch, PMBC has served more than 1,500 Michigan businesses and generated some $8 billion in commitments. The first year of the program saw Michigan’s two largest utility companies open their procurement to more Michigan businesses far beyond an original combined pledge of $100 million per year. Consumers Energy and DTE increased their combined Michigan purchases and contracts by more than $560 million.
The two largest business loan commitments to PMBC were made by Fifth Third ($2.5 billion) and Huntington ($2 billion). Many other partners are offering their services through PMBC, providing increased access to capital, procurement opportunities and legal and professional services.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp., a public-private partnership serving as the state’s marketing arm and lead agency for business, talent and jobs, focuses on helping grow Michigan’s economy. For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit: www.MichiganAdvantage.org.
MEDC will host the 2012 National Economic Gardening Conference in Grand Rapids June 12 and 13. Held annually by the National Center on Economic Gardening, the conference’s primary focus is to give business leaders and economic development representatives the tools necessary to develop viable business development programs that will strengthen their communities, regions and states. For details, visit www.negc12.org.