Governor Unveils Tech Center

February 7, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — The day after Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced in her State of the State address she wanted to create a technology corridor, she came to Grand Rapids to unveil the new Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC).

The new MI-SBTDC, formerly the Michigan Small Business Development Center, is only the second in the country. North Carolina has the other.

As part of the certification process the MI-SBTDC had to fully integrate technology assistance into its strategic plan for service delivery.

"This partnership embodies much of what I said last night (in the State of the State address)," said Granholm. "We want to create this technology tri-corridor and our goal is to make Michigan a top location for technology companies looking to grow and expand. This designation puts out the welcome mat. My economic plan focuses on bringing high-tech, high-wage jobs to our state and the MI-SBTDCs will play an integral role in making Michigan a competitor in the technology sector."

The governor also made it known that Michigan is now a competitor to highly developed technology states and ready to create a place where small technology businesses can grow and prosper.

To receive the designation the statewide network, which is based at Grand Valley State University, had to prove a strong commitment to the allocation of both human and financial resources to serve technology-based businesses.

"The MI-SBTDC network now has tremendous capacity to serve not only Main Street U.S.A. small businesses, but also the fast growing market of technology companies," said Carol Lopucki, MI-SBTDC state director. "We are not going to be leaving those businesses behind but we are going to be here for the tech companies as well as the new inventions that come along."

To support the new set of business needs, the network also needed to add four key people to assist across the state with various technology needs.

The MI-SBTDC staff also has worked in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to deliver services in the area of growing technology-based companies.

This partnership resulted in MI-SBTDC network assisting even more technology companies with intellectual property issues, company management structure and access to capital through traditional bank relationships, angel or venture capital financing and Small Business Innovative Research Grants.

"Our ultimate goal is to fuel Michigan's economy through small business growth," said Lopucki. "That goal falls right in line with the state's initiatives for the creation of a technology corridor, as well as a renewed commitment to champion small business growth throughout Michigan through initiatives such as the SmartZone."

Granholm echoed these feelings and said small businesses cause the state's economy to thrive and that it is partnerships such as this which drive those businesses to success. She said technology networks make it possible for those who have the ideas to build the business and for organizations such as the MI-SBTDC to leverage those ideas through education and funding.

"The SBTDC is alive with innovation," added Lopucki. "And we are innovated with ideas."

Granholm ended by quoting hockey star Wayne Gretzky, who said, "'Skate to where the puck is going, not where the puck is.' I think that is very important and it is important to look ahead to what the future will be. I look forward to working with you through the rain, even if we do get a little bit wet."   

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