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Michigan: A Stellar Example of How to Attract Startups

The auto industry restructure in the ‘80s was a massive blow to the Rust Belt, particularly to Michigan and especially to the city of Detroit. But the state has worked hard to reinvent itself since the industrial decline.

Once called "The Automotive Capital of the World,” Detroit is home to the big three vehicle manufacturers: GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler.

Michigan has fought hard to rise from the ashes and is still the centre of the US automotive industry, but cities across the state have also developed investment attraction strategies to become some of the US’s up-and-coming tech hubs. 

The region’s connection to the auto industry, and its manufacturing history, has allowed it to grow a robust technology research-and-development culture, not just related to the automotive industry. 

How Michigan Became a Tech Hub

A few important factors have helped Michigan attract, expand, and retain more tech-related businesses. 

Michigan's automotive strength and the rapidly evolving changes in that industry provides a strong base of engineering and technical disciplines in the state. Additionally, Michigan has several top universities that educate excellent technical talent and produce technological research and development in connection with the local industry. 

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation focuses its efforts on making the state even more attractive for tech industries. They're actively positioning Michigan as a place that assists businesses with growth strategies and that has many vibrant communities across the state. 

Michigan is also attractive to companies because the cost of living and doing business is a lot lower than in places like LA and New York.

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It’s not just engineering and manufacturing tech flocking to Michigan. The state is also becoming a desirable location for software companies like Quicken, StockX, and OneStream, who have headquarters there. An excellent assortment of venture capital firms are set up in Michigan, making it popular for startups. As well, tech giants like Amazon and Google are expanding their presence in the state.

How to Attract Startups to Your City

You’ll often see cities attracting new industry by arranging tax breaks for certain types of investments. But that’s not the only way to attract new industry to your region or retain and expand the existing industries in your area. 

According to Harvard Business Review, fostering a culture that lends itself well to new startups, either from within the existing community or outside, can be accomplished by investing in education, diverse communities, and future-focused infrastructure.

Figuring out how to attract startups to your city is an important way to drive economic growth. Communities need to have a strong, active and connected business community and clearly show just how supportive the local government can be for companies that want to expand. 

Fostering connections between the local business community and educational institutions is also a critical element to helping industry expand within your community. Availability of a skilled workforce is essential to local industries, so connecting with educational institutions and employers will help you find out how you can support collaborative initiatives. 

Last but certainly not least, it's important to continuously work to develop vibrant and diverse communities. Lower cost of living may be an initial attraction for companies and talent looking to relocate, but things like strong culture and arts communities are important too. 

Your BR+E Strategy to Expand Industry & Attract New Startups

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References: 

https://www.dbusiness.com/tech-mobility-news/blog-detroit-americas-next-tech-hub/ 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/puremichigan/2018/06/25/5-reasons-michigan-has-become-the-silicon-valley-of-mobility-tech/?sh=1845fa003bfa 

https://businesstown.com/detroit-next-silicon-valley/ 

https://hbr.org/2019/05/how-to-attract-startups-and-tech-companies-to-a-city-without-relying-on-tax-breaks 

https://www.freep.com/story/money/business/2019/06/10/google-detroit-ann-arbor-jobs/1408818001/ 

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