Small Business Association of Michigan urges state to adopt "economic gardening"

East Lansing, MI – An organization representing Michigan small business owners is calling for a policy shift away from attracting large out of state industries to cultivating home-grown companies.


The Small Business Association of Michigan says the state's main economic development priority should be helping small Michigan-based businesses succeed. The association calls this "economic gardening," as opposed to hunting for outside industries to relocate.

The association's president and CEO Rob Fowler says Michigan should stop focusing on the types of industries in which to invest, and instead concentrate on fostering second stage companies.

"The economic development strategy for our state and a lot of other states is to pick a sector and to pick the winners, and therefore pick the losers, in effect, by targeting industries," Fowler says. "What we're saying is, stage of business is more important than sector."

At a forum at Michigan State University Thursday, the association urged six of the seven gubernatorial candidates to adopt economic gardening as state policy, regardless of who is elected.