Editorial

A week everyone has reason to celebrate

April 25, 2014
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Grand Rapids Business Journal salutes regional small businesses on the eve of Michigan celebrations spotlighting accomplishments of private business owners who gird local economies.

Several metro area businesses will be honored in annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business events in Lansing, including more than a dozen companies in West Michigan noted as the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch.

Michigan Small Business Development Center Director Carol Lopucki noted the event is more than recognition of the strength of Michigan small business owners in that the entrepreneurial spirit is fostered in the process. The highlight is “the incredible economic impact these companies have made.”

These are business owners who have weathered some of the most turbulent economic impacts in history, often with far fewer resources than those accessible to Michigan’s Fortune 500 companies.

At the same time, Business Leaders for Michigan reported that its survey of large employers across the state reveals the Michigan economy will continue to grow and outperform the U.S. economy. BLM President and CEO Doug Rothwell noted, “Job providers continue to be bullish on the state’s economic prospects and are backing it up with increased hiring and investment.”

Rothwell said more than half the business CEOs surveyed forecast increases in investments, and 54 percent plan to add jobs in the next six months. (Companies among BLM's survey group represent one-quarter of the state's economy.)

BLM also told the Business Journal new job creation crosses several business sectors and includes manufacturing, entertainment, tourism, engineering, furniture and energy companies, and that hiring is most greatly anticipated in logistics, manufacturing, technology, life sciences, engineering and tourism.

The span of these projections provides breadth of economic well-being for the longer term. No single industry carries the state. The broad base provides growth of a more diversified economy, and therefore one more stable in continued advancement.

The Business Journal notes such measures are among existing businesses, and as Lopucki said, provide fertile ground for new businesses, including those not yet imagined. Such start-ups are likely to continue to broaden this region and Michigan's growth across many significant business categories.

As further evidence, several stories about successful West Michigan small businesses are included in this issue. They include barista schools, canoe and kayak tours, doughnut shops, coffee roasters and financial services firms — all of which contribute to the fabric of the business community.

Every region in the state of Michigan reported last week that unemployment rates have fallen — a rare occurrence in any recent decade and proof of the gains employers have forecast and continue to expect.

There is much to celebrate during the recognition of Michigan businesses this week.

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