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Economic gardening vs economic hunting

February 4, 2019

By Brian Calley

Not long ago, Foxconn (manufacturer of iPhones) had several states and the federal government bending over backwards offering tax incentives to lure their proposed U.S. project. They promised 13,000 U.S. jobs and $10 billion in investment. Wisconsin “won” the project committing to $2.85 billion dollars in incentives. But today, the company is hedging on that promise and the outcome looks less certain than before. 

Check out some national coverage on this issue here.

While others focus on “hunting” for jobs around the world, we know that is not the best pathway to prosperity. Michigan has a long and rich history of entrepreneur-led economic development.

A full 70% of Michigan’s jobs and over half of overall job growth in the last 15 years comes from Michigan small businesses. These companies and their owners do not have to be incentivized to invest in our communities and our people. This is already their home. 

That is why we at SBAM support the concept of “Economic Gardening.” Under this philosophy, we pursue and invest in a better environment for those small businesses that are already here. When small businesses have the right environment and support to thrive, we see higher economic growth and far more job growth than ever achieved by the flashy deals that grab the headlines.

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