LANSING (WWJ) — Online sales generate $28 billion a year for businesses in Michigan, according to the 2013 Business Technology Survey released Tuesday by Connect Michigan, the broadband adoption promotion group.
The survey shows that broadband is a vital economic engine for small businesses as well as the rest of the state. However, Connect Michigan estimates that approximately 52,000 Michigan businesses — 25 percent of businesses across the state — still do not use broadband technology.
“Broadband and related technologies are essential for small businesses, particularly in rural areas, to sustain and grow themselves,” said Connect Michigan state program manager Eric Frederick. “An Internet connection can assist businesses in decreasing expenditures by automating various functions while also increasing revenue by providing access to a global marketplace.”
Among the report’s key findings:
• Nearly one-half of small businesses in Michigan (48 percent, or approximately 90,000 small businesses) rely on broadband to advertise their goods and services to customers around the globe.
• Nearly two-thirds of businesses in Michigan (66 percent) say it is important for new employees to have some type of computer or Internet-related skills. Yet an estimated 84,000 Michigan businesses report have difficulty finding employees who have the skills to meet their needs.
• Approximately 74,000 businesses in Michigan advertise current job positions or accept job applications online.
• Approximately 144,000 businesses in Michigan interact with customers or provide customer service online.
• One in five businesses in Michigan use tablet computers and 72,000 businesses use mobile broadband.
• 29 percent of Michigan businesses allow teleworking.
The report is based on a telephone survey of 800 Michigan businesses. Connect Michigan invites residents and businesses to explore and examine the survey results at http://www.connectmi.org/survey-results/business and, most importantly, share the results.
Earlier this year, Connect Michigan partnered with the Michigan Rural Council and the Microenterprise Network of Michigan to further explore the benefits of broadband for small businesses. A video highlighting small businesses across the state and their technology use can be found here: http://brightside.cedam.info/episodes/episode-11/.
Through broadband mapping, education, and research such as this business survey, nonprofit Connect Michigan has been working on promoting broadband access, adoption, and use since 2009. Find out more at http://www.connectmi.org.
As the designated entity for broadband mapping and planning in the state of Michigan, Connect Michigan is a public-private partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and Connected Nation to work with local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband service in the state’s underserved areas.