Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > Making Michigan a High-Growth, High-Wage State

Making Michigan a High-Growth, High-Wage State

May 30, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Entrepreneurship in Michigan faces significant challenges due to limited policy actions and support from the government, hindering the growth of small businesses.
  •  Despite bipartisan support and efforts to enhance entrepreneurial opportunities, Michiganders still encounter barriers such as insufficient government support and biases favoring big businesses.


How to Make Michigan a Business-Friendlier State

For the state, entrepreneurship has continued to present an ongoing challenge to people trying to explore their entrepreneurial efforts and expand business. “There were a lot of people that talked about entrepreneurship and small business, but they didn’t really do much in terms of policy action and change,” Hwang said.

One of the primary topics discussed by the speakers during the presentation revolves around the challenges entrepreneurs encounter when starting their businesses, such as childcare, accessible education, and healthcare. In addition, entrepreneurship has become a highly privileged business in itself – especially against Black entrepreneurs.

“We have to reimagine what we mean by when we do something business-friendly… we need to have a comprehensive approach,” Gilchrist said. “There are so many things that stand in the way of a person with an idea [to take] the next step.”

On the Relationship Between Entrepreneurial and the Government

While there are proposals aimed at broadening Michiganders’ entrepreneurial endeavors, the hindrances and biases stemming from insufficient government support remain significant barriers to their advancement. Hwang added that 82% of entrepreneurs say the government favors big business over them.

However, a notable positive aspect of enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities for Michiganders is the extensive bipartisan support driving these initiatives. “People across both parties [want entrepreneurs to succeed] … there are people that have seen how the system doesn’t work,” says Hwang.

“It’s just very powerful to see. And often, they’ll say this is the first time we’ve worked so closely on things together,” he added. “In a time of great polarization, it’s remarkable that they actually worked together and agreed on so many aspects of this.”

This session was hosted by Song Foundation.