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Michigan should enable entrepreneurs to pursue their ambitions without having to leave

On the way into the office today, I was listening to an NPR series part, Michigan’s Hybrid Economy: Helping the Entrepreneurs, and a few things struck me. The first is the comment that the auto industry has continued to suck local investors dry.

It’s frustrating, though understandable, that most Detroit-area investors have sought out auto. Of course, auto has been Detroit’s golden goose, but really? Are we that resistant to change that investors are still drawn to the money pit Detroit auto has become? I’m absolutely all for helping out my hometown’s bread-and-butter, of course I have family deeply embedded, but diversification is an absolute necessity if not inevitable.

The next striking point is the apparent lack of investors in Detroit at all.

And Michigan can win investment from those places, but it’s more likely they’d be forced to move.

The article suggests we can attract these investors with tax incentives. I must admit, I’ve felt the pull of out-of-state solutions to better achieve my ambition. It’s irritating our state has done little to better influence these investors. After all, as the report mentions, that is how the auto industry we know today began.

The strategy at this point is to target incentives to particular industries, like film or electric car batteries.

That means some entrepreneurs will get less help than others.

So, now that Detroit has learned from the mistake of putting all of its eggs in one auto industry basket, we’re rising from the ashes to put our eggs in only a few new industries. Hm. Really? Sure, we’ve shown some early successes with film and others–just like the auto industry did. But are we really about to take those same steps with no insurance (through diversification) for our future?

All I’m saying is it’d be nice if Michigan would stop pulling the seat from underneath itself and stop screwing over its own future.

What IF we let entreprenuers pursue their dreams and make the business cases for what they know best? What IF our focus was encouraging their development, whatever it may be, and supported the viable business cases that ensued?

(This article is a re-post from Shauna Nicholson’s blog. You can view additional comments here.)