Five Places Michigan Can Look To Spark Its Innovation Economy

5/10/10Follow @nparekh00

Training: My sense is that Michigan probably has a high potential workforce, but needs to be retrained in new skills in growing markets—be it information technology, clean technology, biotechnology or something else.

Academic Treasure Hunting: There is probably a wealth of opportunity at University of Michigan and Michigan State University in terms of unique intellectual property that can be the foundation of the next great company.

Corporations: There are still large companies in Michigan that can be ready buyers for new technology (especially in chemicals and the transportation industry). Just like many clean tech companies are looking to the government as the initial customer for clean technology, it would be interesting if the Fortune 500 companies in Michigan had incentive to help small startups be successful.

Capital: Capital needs to be attracted to the state. So either angels, VCs, or private equity funds need to be started in the state or entrepreneurs should look for proactive ways to bring East Coast and West Coast investors to Michigan to educate them on the opportunities.

Policy: Entrepreneurs should probably look to develop policy, tax incentives, and state funding programs to support startups in the state.

[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.]

Nikesh “Niki” Parekh is CEO of Seattle-based ActiveRain, the largest social network and blogging network dedicated to the real estate industry. Niki is the former CEO at a UW cleantech spin-out called Bio Architecture Lab and has held positions at Madrona, HouseValues, and Second Avenue Partners. Follow @nparekh00

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