Report: Michigan Needs Statewide Innovation Policy Agenda to Seize Market Opportunities


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MEC advocates for local and statewide development programs to help Michigan maximize its assets.

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A report released by the Michigan Economic Center (MEC) indicates that the state could grow hundreds of businesses and create tens of thousands of jobs in the energy, water, food, transportation, information technology, and healthcare industries by creating state and local economic development programs to help maximize assets.

Entitled “Jobs, Michigan, and Leadership in the Economy of Tomorrow,” the report provides recommendations for state actions to build Michigan’s assets and maximize opportunities.

“The U.S. and world economies are going through a new transformation centered on providing a fast-growing world population sustainable solutions to meet their needs for food, energy, water, mobility, communications, health care, and livable communities,” says John Austin, MEC’s director and the lead author of the report.

“Michigan is one of the few states with the innovation base — much of it built by our industrial economy leadership — to compete and create new jobs and businesses in these fast-growing sectors. We also have the world’s hardest-working, most skilled people who know how to discover, design, engineer, make, and sell things.”

The report’s recommendations to build on Michigan residents’ skills and innovation assets include:

  • Repurposing existing state economic development resources to leavers more than $1 billion in new private and venture capital investment to translate the innovation, technologies, and business concepts discovered by Michigan’s universities, companies, and entrepreneurs.
  • Facilitating and supporting corporate-university public-private partnerships in emerging sectors to identify and develop necessary technologies to be commercialized as startups.
  • Supporting the buildout of Michigan University Centers of Excellence in water, food, energy, mobility, IT, and health care, making Michigan the global center for innovation in these fields.
  • Setting ambitious goals for Michigan’s leadership in the emerging economy to stimulate market-driven private sector response and job creation.
  • Making potential polluters pay for expanded Pure Michigan funding and Green and Blue community place-making and then lifting caps and broaden uses of current natural resources, conservation and rural economic development funds to reinvest polluters fines. 

“If Michigan organizes to lead in this work of tomorrow, it will create good paying new businesses and jobs,” adds Austin.  “But as importantly, leading in these emerging fields sends a new message about Michigan, positioning our state as a forward-leaning, not backward-looking state — a state solving big problems, creating the future again, and doing the work that young people and mobile talent want to do.”

MEC uses ideas and networking to develop and promote key policies and practices for advancing Michigan’s economic future and a full version of the report can be read here.

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