GRAND RAPIDS — Michigan’s strategy to create a positive business climate to help Michigan companies grow is showing results, Governor Rick Snyder told a record crowd at the 2012 National Economic Gardening Conference today in Grand Rapids.

“In the last 18 months we have greatly improved Michigan’s business climate and infrastructure, making it easier for our businesses to find new paths to prosperity, and the changes are paying off,” Snyder said. “We now have in place a simplified and competitive business tax structure propelling us to one of the best business climates in the country, and we’re providing new tools to help our businesses grow. Today’s conference shines a spotlight on Michigan’s economic gardening strategy and how it is working to transform our economy.”

Hosted this year by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Pure Michigan Business Connect, the conference is an annual event held by the National Center on Economic Gardening and is focused on giving business leaders and economic development representatives the tools necessary to develop viable business development programs that will strengthen their communities, regions and states. This year’s attendance of more than 175 is the largest in the 10-year history of the conference.

In addition to Snyder, speakers included Chris Gibbons, director of business and industry affairs at the City of Littleton, Colo., and creator of the Economic Gardening economic development model, and Mark Lange, executive director of the Edward Lowe Foundation and a leader in entrepreneurism training.

Earlier this month, MEDC announced five new initiatives under the Pure Michigan Business Connect umbrella that will further help Michigan businesses grow and improve the state’s economy. The initiatives include several financing tools for small and medium sized businesses and community redevelopment projects, a new business to business network and increased exporting opportunities for Michigan businesses.

Announced by Snyder last June, Pure Michigan Business Connect helps companies find new ways to raise capital, to get access to various business services, and to connect with each other with business-to-business procurement opportunities. The effort includes the Pure Michigan Business Connect Economic Gardening Pilot Program for second-stage growth companies.

National Economic Gardening Conference updates are available by following Pure Michigan Business Connect (@PUREMIbiz) on Twitter or by following the conference hashtag #negc12.

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:

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