MEDC official says economic opportunity awaits UP | News, Sports, Jobs

MARQUETTE – Economic development should involve the upper and lower peninsulas, said the head of one of Michigan’s major economic organizations.

Quentin Messer Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Chairman of the Michigan Strategic Fund, spoke about how recent legislation should help the state.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed the bipartisan Amusement Awareness and Reserve Strategy program to support small businesses and fully fund what the governor’s office called a Economic development toolbox” make the state a national leader in attracting business.

In this bundle of bills, Whitmer signed House Bill 4603 to create a billion dollar economic development fund to ensure Michigan can compete for billions of dollars in investment and attract tens of thousands. jobs to support the state’s economy, the governor’s office said.

She also signed Senate Bill 771 to create a $ 500 million fund to make Michigan’s economy more adaptable to the “Rapid pace of technological change”, said the governor’s office, as well as supporting small businesses and creating or keeping well-paying jobs.

Whitmer also signed Senate Bill 79 to create a funding mechanism for programs and Senate Bill 85 to provide full funding to provide resources and provide direct assistance to small businesses affected by the pandemic of COVID-19.

Messer noted the bipartisan aspect of the legislation.

“You’ve seen the legislature and the executive come together to make sure Michigan has the capacity to say – big business, small business, businesses in various industries – three things,” said Messer.

One of those three things is that site preparation – whether it’s infrastructure or land aggregation – wouldn’t be a barrier for people or businesses investing in Michigan.

Another aspect, according to Messer, is to ensure that the state has the resources to creatively invest in risky projects.

However, he believes the most important part of the legislation revolves around future security.

“We want to make sure Michigan’s future is secure for families, for small business owners, for job seekers.” said Messer.

He noted that state officials recognize the pace of the changes taking place and whether they are motivated by regulatory changes, including the federal push to transition to electric vehicles.

Other issues involve issues such as supply chain challenges, as well as Michigan having competitive forestry and agrifood industries.

“Michigan needs to ensure that we have the tools and resources to compete not only with 49 other US states, but also Canadian provinces as well as Mexican states,” he added. said Messer. “We have to be the best four-season economy in North America, and these tools are an important first step in making sure we have the resources and, more importantly, that we are sending a very powerful message that we are ready to deliver. aggressive competition. “

The hope, he said, is that the legislation will be effective enough that more funds will be needed for these additional resources.

Messer stressed that the Michigan Strategic Fund’s normal approval process under the Open Meetings Act will remain in place.

A UP project has already been allocated for more funds.

Otie McKinley, media and communications manager for MEDC and Travel Michigan, said the Michigan Strategic Fund earlier this year approved an extension of a grant with Northern Michigan University’s Invent @ NMU program, which helps students and regional entrepreneurs to launch their business ideas.

The grant was extended for one year with an additional $ 320,000 allocated.

“We are delighted to help continue and nurture the entrepreneurial efforts that are taking place at NMU”, McKinley said.

Messer said the new legislation will affect the Upper Peninsula in several ways.

“We have a very strong portfolio of opportunities in the Upper Peninsula”, said Messer, who plans to visit the UP in February. “We know the Upper Peninsula is an important part of the state. It is part of the state. You can’t discuss Michigan without talking about the two peninsulas.

“The legislation allows us to have the resources, and more importantly, the agility to respond to the project opportunities that we see statewide, and we have a number of ongoing projects that are underway. execution”

However, Messer declined to elaborate on these UP projects in an attempt to avoid negatively affecting their ability to come to fruition by having the State withdrawn from consideration due to premature discussion.

“The UP has strengths – not just ethics and hard work ethics” he said. “He has huge educational institutions. It has extraordinary scenic beauty. Businesses big and small see the UP as a place where they can potentially grow and expand their business, and we want to make sure that happens, and we actively encourage and aggressively market opportunities in the UP.

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