10 Ideas for Strengthening Michigan’s Innovation Economy
1. Support the relevant state-regional-level infrastructures: favorable state capital gains tax, generous support for K-12, university education.
2. Develop professional, competent, adequately funded technology transfer offices in Michigan research universities. Develop some system for lowering cost of start-up capital (low-interest state loans, etc).
3. Pick *one* geographic area (probably Ann Arbor, since young professionals would like to move/live there) and continue to strengthen the start-up ecology there (University, tech-transfer office…)
4. Pick a few areas of technology (robotics, mobile communications for automotive, border security, inland water management, whatever…where Michigan might have an unfair advantage) and invest selectively in those.
5. Develop a mechanism for attracting, recruiting, and moving first-rate scientists/engineers from abroad (there are still lots who would like to leave Russia, Poland, etc., and come to the U.S.).
6. Use the large Detroit Middle Eastern community to establish ties to capital in the Middle East.
7. Have a state-level office reporting to the governor that partners with regional development groups in Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, etc.
8. Develop a program to pair experienced and aspiring entrepreneurs in apprentice arrangements of 3-4 years’ duration (inside or outside Michigan).
9. Develop a public education program to explain the entrepreneurial process, and its benefits (PBS, etc.).
10. Develop more programs with explicit emphasis on creation of jobs (all of Michigan) and technology for urban renewal (Detroit).
[Editor’s note: To help launch Xconomy Detroit, we’ve queried our network of Xconomists and other innovation leaders around the country for their list of the most important things that entrepreneurs and innovators in Michigan can do to reinvigorate their regional economy.]