Governor Snyder Addresses Houghton: SmartZones Key to Gardening Job Creation in Michigan, and Proven Locally

HOUGHTON, Michigan (August 29, 2011) – Governor Rick Snyder held a town hall-style meeting Tuesday, August 16 in Houghton, Michigan. Governor Snyder addressed key topics of reinventing the state through economic development, specifically targeting entrepreneurs. He highlighted SmartZones as a means to create an environment ripe for entrepreneurism. In the Keweenaw, MTEC SmartZone is proof of Governor Snyder’s discussion.

In the past 8 years, over 309 direct jobs and over 500 spin-off jobs have been created, in a community of 12,000, as a result of growing technology-based companies inside MTEC SmartZone. Much of MTEC SmartZone’s success comes from the connectivity to Michigan Technological University. Many jobs are a result of research and development happening at the research-based University. Other companies are created by Alumni who want to get back to the region they fell in love with as students. Michigan Tech University President Glenn Mroz, who announced Governor Snyder last Tuesday, confirmed MTEC SmartZone’s impressive success, “We have one of the best SmartZones in the state.”

Snyder communicated his economic development initiatives with a metaphor: hunting vs. gardening. Rather than hunting for companies to relocate or build in Michigan, Snyder stated that through the support of entrepreneurism, we can grow our own jobs and keep our recent college graduates employed. “We’ve spent too much time over the last few years hunting – which is, going out to get a few big companies with huge incentive packages and trying to bring them into Michigan, and essentially buying into our state. That’s not good business,” Snyder warned. Gardening economic growth, on the other hand, is job creation that starts with the talent that already here.

This model is successful, as proven by MTEC SmartZone and the 14 other SmartZones across Michigan. “Our economic gardening model is working. In fact, our recently-opened Entrepreneurial Support Center already has 10 new companies that have started in the past 6 months. This is proof that economic gardening really works,” states MTEC SmartZone CEO, Carlton Crothers.