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102 Berkley Articles | Page: | Show All

Small businesses integral to state's economic recovery

Small business advocate for the state of Michigan Chris Holman stresses the importance of small businesses to the state's economic recovery.


Because companies with fewer than 500 employees already employ 52 percent of the state's work force, Michigan needs to work harder to support and encourage that sector.

"I use the quote that nothing heightens a man's creativity like the thought of getting hung in the morning,'' Holman said, referring to the state's growing need to reinvent itself economically. 

"The auto industry has been a rude awakening for some of us, and now we're scrambling to get to tomorrow's culture,'' he said. "Small business, for the most part, is taking up the slack.''

Read the entire article here.

Comerica's relocation creates opportunity for smaller banks

Smaller banks in Oakland County are looking at Comerica's announced relocation as an opportunity to create market share.


"What you're going to see is a lot of advertising campaigns that say, 'Come and bank with your hometown bank,' and over time they will increase market share," said Brian D. Pollice, financial institution partner for Plante & Moran PLLC in Southfield.

"It's an opportunity for the smaller banks to step up and say, 'Here I am - I am in your hometown and our decisions are made here.'"

Read the entire article here.

State to receive $11M for worker training

$11 million in federal job training monies is headed to Michigan for worker re-training.


The Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth requested the funds in mid-February, after it became apparent that federal funding allocated to Michigan for the current fiscal year would be inadequate to cover all workers eligible for benefits under the federal trade adjustment assistance program.

Read the entire article here.

Survey says, 21% of Detroit CIOs will hire in 2nd quarter of 2007

A national survey of chief information officers reveals that in the Detroit area, a net 21% have plans to hire IT staff in the second quarter of 2007.


A net 21 percent of chief information officers in the Detroit area expect to hire IT professionals in the second quarter of 2007. Twenty-three percent of executives surveyed plan to add staff during the quarter, and 2 percent anticipate reductions in personnel.

The net 21 percent hiring increase is nine points above the national average.

Read the entire article here.

Economist predicts state will dodge recession this year

Despite lots of bad news for the local economy, Comerica Bank Chief Economist Dana Johnson predicts that Michigan will avoid falling into a recession this year.


“The U.S. economy is in the midst of some sort of soft landing, not a hard landing, and that makes a world of difference for the Michigan economy,” Johnson said today. “I’m assuming still that we’re not heading for a recession here in 2007.”

Read the entire article here.

Locally-grown produce available to residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties

Maple Creek Farm CSA (community supported agriculture) provides certified organic vegetables, fruits and herbs to its members via weekly drop-offs at 24 scattered sites in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties. It is now accepting memberships for the 2007 growing season.  

Co-owner Michelle Lutz describes CSAs as "a relationship between the farmer and the people who are eating that farm’s food."  Members are essentially buying a share of the farm and thus, its crops. 

Maple Creek grows about 40 different crops ranging from apples to zucchini on their 80-acre farm located in St. Clair County. Members pick up a box filled with in-season crops each week from their designated drop-site from mid-June through October.  

Last year, 750 individual shares were purchased that ultimately fed approximately1,200 people in Metro Detroit because, as Lutz explains, "shares are often shared." She estimates that Maple Creek moved 50 tons of produce a week in 2006.

The CSA provides food to several area restaurants, including three of the twelve at The Henry Ford. Lutz says, "They are a great example. If they can do it within such a large operation, so can other businesses, like hospitals." Royal Oak’s Inn Season, Sweet Lorraine’s and Clarkston Union also purchase produce from Maple Creek.

Food grown at Maple Creek is typically consumed within an 80-mile radius of the farm. In contrast, Lutz explains that food travels, on average, 1,300-1,500 miles from where it is grown to where it is sold to a consumer. She says, "There’s a lot less fuel dollars spent to support local food," and believes that local sustainable agriculture can be part of Michigan’s economic revival.

There are two CSAs in the Ann Arbor area as well. For more information on CSAs or to locate one, visit the national CSA registry.

Source: Michelle Lutz, Maple Creek Farm

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Image of Michelle Lutz courtesy of Maple Creek Farm

Study shows, renewable energy has potential to infuse state's economy with 6,800 jobs

Environment Michigan has released a report calling for 20% of the state's energy to come from renewable sources by 2015, twice the state's goal. It also quantifies how a $225 million per year investment into renewable energy and energy efficiency could generate jobs and otherwise boost Michigan's economy.


A new study released this morning by Environment Michigan suggests that reliance on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency could create 6,800 new jobs, $3.3 billion in new salaries, reduce power plant emissions by 30% and save $2.2 billion in energy bills for Michigan residents by the 2020.

A copy of the report is available here.

Read the entire article here.

City leaders to attend Michigan Suburbs Alliance event, consider energy and economy

Michigan Suburbs Alliance, an organization working to revitalize Metro Detroit’s inner ring suburbs, will host its annual Mayors and Managers Breakfast on Feb. 22 in Dearborn Heights. The event’s primary topic will be "Energy Efficiency and the Economy."

MSA is encouraging its members, which include Ferndale, Dearborn and Berkley, to look at energy as a cross-jurisdictional matter, much like roads and water. The organization sees clean and reliable energy as an asset that will help evolve southeastern Michigan’s economy into one that is knowledge-based.

Policy issues that will be discussed at the event include the prioritization of energy efficiency by offering local tax credits, investing in alternate energy sources and exploring the potential for public-private collaborations.
MSA also recently named its second group of Redevelopment Ready cities: Grosse Pointe Woods, Hamtramck, Lincoln Park, Mount Clemens, Rockwood, and Roseville. Redevelopment Ready designation indicates that the municipality has demonstrated an ability to streamline the development process for a would-be investor.

Applicants are rated on stakeholder and community commitment, having a documented redevelopment plan that includes detailed visioning for specific development sites, training for elected officials and relevant city staff, financial incentive packages, progressive zoning guidelines, a marketing plan, and a streamlined and predictable redevelopment review process.

Last year, Hazel Park, Southfield, River Rouge, Eastpointe and Ypsilanti were appointed as the initial designees.

For more information about the Mayors and Managers Breakfast, click here.

Source: MSA

Gilbert, Crain's top newsmaker of 2006, speaks on region's assets and liabilities

Quicken Loan's Dan Gilbert, named Crain's Newsmaker of the Year for 2006, spoke last week at an Inforum breakfast about Southeast Michigan's regional assets as well as its liabilities. Assets: work ethic, entrepreneurship and its research universities. Liabilities: brain drain, victim mentality and bureaucracy resistant to change.


Quicken has been successful because it has developed a corporate culture and philosophy that it defines itself by, and the company makes decisions based on its identity, Gilbert said. The region must develop a stronger identity for itself in order to make decisions that can help it move forward, he said.

“You’ve got to know who you are before you start talking about what it is you’re going to do,” Gilbert said.

Read the entire article here.

African immigrants to Metro Detroit bring education, entrepreneurial spirit

A 400% increase in African immigrants to Metro Detroit in the last decade has infused the area with new stores, churches and mosques, social organizations and professional services.


Michigan is home to about 40,000 Africans, roughly half of whom live in Wayne or Oakland counties. Many others are in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor and Flint.

"They are smart, motivated, and they do well in this country, and that leads to growth in immigration," said David Wiley, director of the African Studies Center at Michigan State University. "Of all African-born immigrants to the United States, 50 percent have one or more degrees in higher education."

Read the entire article here.

MLUI's Schneider debuts new economy blog

Keith Schneider of the Michigan Land Use Institute, a statewide smart land use advocacy group, has started a new blog to talk about media, the internet, land use and economic development called Modeshift.


Welcome to Mode Shift, a new blog that chronicles accelerating transition in two arenas of American life: the economy and competitiveness of state and metropolitan regions, and the swift development of social media. The focus is new forms, new techniques, the new rules of the game  in economic development and communications. I’m interested in change and how people respond to it. Never has change occurred as fast as it is today. I’m intent on applying to Mode Shift’s reporting and commentary nearly 30 years of accumulated knowledge and experience in writing about technology, government, business, transportation, agriculture and the environment. This blog, in short, is about evolution.

Columnist delves into potential for entrepreneurship in new economy

Ann Arbor News business columnist Rick Haglund takes a look at the role that entrepreneurship can play in recovery of Michigan's economy.


We'll likely see any number of new restaurants, construction firms, bait shops and retail franchise stores opened by former hourly autoworkers too young to retire.

But the biggest promise for new businesses that could generate thousands of high-paying jobs may lie in exceptionally skilled salaried workers and executives leaving the big auto and pharmaceutical companies.

Read the entire column here.

Governor's State of State address calls for diversification of economy

In Governor Jennifer Granholm's State of the State address on Tuesday, she proposed initiatives that would retain and attract workers and diversify Michigan's economy including training and education, alternative energy and stem cell research.


Embryonic stem cell research. The governor would remove barriers to research that could help people with debilitating diseases, suggesting that if the Legislature doesn't act, she'd back a citizen-led petition drive to put it on the ballot.

Laid-off worker training. The state would foot the bill for community college or training for workers who lose their jobs when their employers close shop or lay off employees. The program would immediately apply to 100,000 laid-off workers.

Alternative energy. This program would invest $100 million in funding into research and job creation in alternative energy companies over three years. The plan includes 1,000 ethanol and bio-diesel gas pumps by 2008.
Listen to the Governor's proposal for alternative energy here and read the entire story here.

Granholm calls for training, education in State of State address

In her annual State of the State address, Governor Jennifer Granholm called for two years of free training or community college for any displaced worker in Michigan.


The three-year "No Worker Left Behind" program would launch this summer, with around 7,500 workers getting free tuition for 2007-08 besides the 18,000 already being helped. More workers would be added in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years.

"This is kind of a one-time window people can take advantage of," said Bob Swanson, director of the state Department of Labor & Economic Growth.

Read the entire article here.

SE Michigan part of the ever-green transformation of the rustbelt

Ann Arbor, Berkley and Ferndale mayors joined 373 others across the country in signing the US Mayors Climate Protection agreement.    


"The fact that mayors have really embraced it is a strong signal to the country that this is a very important issue," says Rick Fedrizzi, president of the Green Building Council, which set up the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards almost seven years ago. "Mayors do this for their cities not as window dressing but to prove that their cities are well managed."

Read the entire article here.
102 Berkley Articles | Page: | Show All
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