The Story Behind Rick Snyder: Seasoned Tech Entrepreneur Wins Michigan GOP Primary

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and create viable businesses that will, in turn, create new jobs. He’s also in favor of repealing a business tax here in Michigan that is not very popular with entrepreneurs.

Chris Rizik, a Detroit Xconomist and the CEO of Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, which has offices in Ann Arbor and Detroit, was Snyder’s second-in-command for years at Ardesta. Rizik was celebrating with Snyder at his victory party last night. I asked him to tell me what a Gov. Snyder would mean for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Michigan.

“We know that the vast majority of new jobs come from entrepreneurial companies rather than large corporations,” Rizik wrote to me in the wee hours of this morning. “But many of the actions out of Lansing over the past few years, including the Michigan Business Tax, show that Michigan is not sensitive to what drives successful entrepreneurship.

“Having a governor who has been an entrepreneur and who has spent most of his career in entrepreneurship would be an important change, by providing us with a leader who led the creation of a legal and economic development framework that will drive entrepreneurship forward,” Rizik wrote.

Indeed, Snyder lives and breathes the entrepreneurial culture, and is well-established as a local job creator and economic development leader. He speaks the same language as most of Xconomy’s readers. I don’t agree with him on everything. He talks about making government run more like a business, and I would argue that business and government have two separate purposes, and that one should not necessarily run like the other.

But while these are philosophical issues that can be debated, there is no denying that Snyder will run a campaign that is based on his extensive experience as a technology entrepreneur. That, alone, will make this campaign something that Xconomy readers will want to pay close attention to.

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  • My greatest concern and fear is that all the favoritism he will show towards the Detroit area. It is fact in the past that Detroit gets way too much monies from our tax dollars to help them out. Enough is enough.
    I did not vote for him. I didn’t vote for Granholm. Doesn’t seem to be any info of his religious beliefs or practices. Pro life? Pro abortion? Christian? After Obamonomics there is very little trust left for politicians let alone someone from nowhere with just another person who knows how to manipulate money.

  • scorr

    I tend to lean more Democratic, but I will vote for Snyder. He has sensible ideas and doesn’t seem to be trying to shove his religion down the voters throats. We need a Governor, not a minister.

  • jennifer

    I don’t think religion is an important factor in a governmental candidate unless there will be important legislature relating to it that will be decided upon. Religion should be a private affair and we shouldn’t care unless it is a heavy influence on the decision making. Snyder is Michigan born not “someone from nowhere” as in the first comment and he is an intellectual and has the right head for business. And he obviously is not biased toward Detroit as he is based in Ann Arbor. I feel as though he would be a good selection for the state governor as Michigan needs someone who knows the situation and the climate in the state as well as knowing how to get things done. We need some good leadership and Snyder has already shown it by attracting business opportunities to our state.

  • Ziggy

    I voted for Mr. Snyder precisely because he is a businessman, not a tainted politician.

    Given his record as a businessman and a capitalist, I believe he is biased towards economic failure, which is precisely what Michigan needs.

  • Thank you for your thoughts, everybody. This should be an interesting campaign to watch. I’ll keep a close eye on it in the context of what might be of interest to Xconomy readers. So, I will not be concerned with social so much as economic issues.

    One thing I wanted to correct here, though, is this perception that Detroit gets all the attention. In fact, the opposite is true. Ann Arbor, through Ann Arbor SPARK, and Oakland County, through Automation Alley, get far more attention, and tax dollars, from the state than their cousin, TechTown, in Detroit. It is private money through the Kauffman Foundation and others that keeps entrepreneurship training in Detroit alive.

  • John & Regina

    The next Governor needs to eliminate the State’s deficit entirely through spending cuts. Yes, it can be done without drastic cuts to the few truly essential services which government must provide……………. First on the list for big-dollar savings: require all state-government employees, and all public-school teachers and administrators, to pay at least 25% of their own healthcare insurance premiums. A Kalamazoo Gazette article from Monday, August 9, 2010 reports that the average prviate-sector worker pays 26% of his/her own medical insurance premiums. I personally pay 23% of mine. The people who work for the taxpayers should pay at least the same portion of their premiums as the taxpayers themselves……….. My mother is a lifelong educator in the public schools, and I want good teachers to be well-compensated. For the most part, teachers in Michigan already are fairly compensated. Enough is enough. Taxpayers are not cows whose sole purpose in life is to be milked by selfish unionized government employees………….. The next governor — hopefully Snyder — can find other realistic ways of eliminating the deficit by consulting the Mackinac Center’s detailed recommendations…………. CUT SPENDING NOW.

  • Joleen North

    I plan to vote for Rick Snyder, but I hope that he remembers that Michigan has an Upper Peninsula. We definitely need some of those tech jobs up here. We have an Air Force Base (closed in ’95) that would be an excellent place for tech companies.

  • Jeff

    I beleive it is definately good to create incentive for small businesses, but people seem to forget where the money going to help small businesses will come from… Money that would go to “essential” social services like public education is slowly dissapearing in the name of progess and job expansion.
    When will we learn that linear and unbridled growth is not the most essential part of our society? The kids are our future and are something we must be invested in. Rich conservatives could care less because they can move to a rich neighborhood, where high property taxes will fund their schools. Whereas poor people, the ones most effected by less social services, will be stuck in poor neighborhoods with low quality education.
    As far as making all public school teachers and administrators pay more of their own premium for healthcare disturbs me. State budgets for schools are already at an all time low.
    Has it been so long since most of you were in school that you have forgotten how important our teachers are to society? Private sector employees foot more of the bill because they generally make more money than our educators do. So please don’t remove more incentive for people to choose ecuation as a career path.

  • Read THIS for the story of Rick Snyder