3 Ways States Can Support Manufacturing for Startups

Written by Charlie R. Tyson

While automotive design and technology are constantly changing thanks to artificial intelligence, Michigan is proud to hold a consistent ranking amongst the world’s leading manufacturing states. However, this feat didn’t happen overnight. 

For decades, Michigan and other states across the Midwest have placed major emphasis on advancing the manufacturing industry to better support long-standing businesses and startups. As a result of this commitment, Michigan’s startup community is redefining how new technologies can drive manufacturing innovation.

Thanks to a long-term commitment to three vital priorities (listed below), Michigan’s business climate and innovation culture is one of the most favorable in the Midwest.

1. Eliminate Property Taxes

Eliminating personal property taxes significantly reduces costs for companies that have expensive capital investments in equipment. By creating manufacturing-friendly tax laws and supportive business climates, more states can support new and expanding facilities.

This simple move – in conjunction with investments in technology and innovation – has helped Michigan to consistently rank among the top 10 states for new and expanding facilities. In fact, according to the Michigan Manufacturing Association, the state has added nearly 190,800 new manufacturing jobs since 2009 – an increase of 44.1 percent in just nine years. 

2. Create an Ecosystem of Wrap-Around Support

Since 2010, more than $23 billion in new automotive investments have taken place in Michigan, which is more than any other state in the country. According to the Michigan Venture Capital Association’s 2018 Annual Research Report, a total of $179 million in venture capital was invested in 68 Michigan startups in 2017 alone. 

Techinmotion Katelyn Crain

This sort of funding support reinforces Michigan’s position as one of the best places in the world for innovative companies to design, engineer and build products. With a rich history of manufacturing, Michigan is able to connect the dots between emerging companies globally seeking prototype and production support, and our qualified manufacturing base.

3. Invest in Talent and Research

 States that achieve the most success in the manufacturing sector invest in both people and R&D. Industry collaborations and programs need to be developed that engage skilled workers, industry experts, educational institutions, employers and local government. Input from all entities on what their future needs are must drive talent-based initiatives that enhance skills of the existing workforce and prepare the next generation to meet each industry’s evolving needs. When the public and private sectors work together and use research-driven methods, innovative solutions are created.

Historically, Michigan’s auto industry has used this model to build the highest concentration of electrical and mechanical engineers in the country – employing more industrial designers than any other state and becoming the national leader in R&D investment. As the industry evolves and implements connected, autonomous transportation technologies, the workforce development model is keeping pace. Investments in R&D for future mobility is also among Michigan’s leading priorities, along with connecting startups with the traditional manufacturing ecosystem. 

Wcc1 Katelyn Crain

Global Success Story

Highlighting Michigan’s deep history and expertise of manufacturing and ecosystem for emerging tech companies, Silicon-Valley based FarmWise and Roush recently announced a collaboration to develop and test autonomous vegetable weeders in the state of Michigan.

The initial contract between FarmWise and Roush includes the development of a dozen prototypes of the self-driving robots in 2019, scaling to additional units in 2020.

The founders of FarmWise located to the Bay Area to work with other top engineers to develop the best solutions for farmers. Yet, when the time came to mass develop their autonomous robots, they chose Michigan.

FarmWise was connected to Roush through support from PlanetM, a partnership of mobility organizations under the Michigan Economic Development Corporation working to create and deploy technologies driving the future. 

Visit PlanetM.com to connect with the people, places and resources dedicated to the evolution of mobility. Register for PlanetM’s Hardware Tech Summit here: www.planetm.com/hardware.

To connect with MEDC economic development professionals visit https://planetm.michiganbusiness.org/contact-us/.

For more good news stories coming out of Michigan visit https://www.michiganbusiness.org/news/.

About The Author

Charlie R. Tyson

Charlie R. Tyson

Project Manager, PlanetM

Charlie Tyson is the Project Manager of PlanetM at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Launched in 2016, PlanetM began as a global marketing campaign to showcase the entirety of Michigan’s autonomous, connected, electrified, and shared transportation ecosystem. In 2017, PlanetM morphed into a business development platform to attract the world’s best mobility startups and connect them to the Michigan automotive ecosystem. PlanetM connects emerging mobility companies to Michigan’s automotive and advanced transportation industry through testing and pilot opportunities, matchmaking engagements, and through the PlanetM Landing Zone, a co-working space in the heart of downtown Detroit. In addition, Charlie leads PlanetM’s effort to connect founders in all industries to Michigan’s vast network of engineering and manufacturing firms to build their products for success. Charlie has been affiliated with the MEDC since 2016 when he joined PlanetM’s sister program, Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC). PMBC is the state’s premier B2B program that has facilitated $5.7 billion in contracts between local and global buyers and Michigan suppliers, resulting in 27,941 jobs created or retained since 2011. In his free time, Charlie enjoys coasting along the Great Lakes on his motorcycle.

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