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MiQuest “Entrepreneurship Score Card” finds significant growth, positive direction in Michigan’s entrepreneurial climate

May 5, 2014

The Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card2014 Edition reports a dramatic uptick in the metrics that support a robust entrepreneurial environment and a number of other positive trends in Michigan’s business climate.  This edition of the Score Card marks the 10th publication of key metrics being tracked in all 50 states regarding achievements related to entrepreneurship.  This is arguably the most well-researched and complete annual report of its kind.

Among the insights from the Score Card:

– Michigan’s entrepreneurial climate has experienced exceptional gains since 2009. At one point, Michigan was in the bottom ten states for three key metrics, now those metrics show Michigan in the top ten states.  Those metrics include Growth in 1-Year Establishment Survival, Growth in Establishments Gaining Jobs, and Export Growth.

– Despite economic hard times, Michigan continued to invest in areas critical to future technology-based entrepreneurial growth. Throughout the 2000s, Michigan’s public and private sectors continued to invest heavily in R&D, innovation (measured by patents filed), STEM education, and job creation in technology fields.

– Michigan’s Quality of Life metrics point to several strengths conducive to economic mobility and tech growth. Placemaking has emerged as a strength that’s building more robust and healthy local entrepreneurial economies around the state.

The Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card, analyzing data from 2002 to 2012, was released today (May 5, 2014) by MiQuest, a Lansing-based nonprofit organization serving more than 13,000 members of Michigan’s entrepreneurial community and more than 5,000 second-stage businesses. 

MiQuest’s President Diane Durance said, “The Score Card rankings mirror what many of us have been seeing in the entrepreneurial sector in recent years – ventures achieving key milestones quicker, a high demand for technical talent, and new levels of enthusiasm about the quality of life and opportunities in urban areas. It’s an exciting time and the positive momentum is building.”

This tenth annual Score Card uses 137 metrics spanning a wide range of factors from business climate indicators to quality of life measurements that influence entrepreneurship. For each metric, Michigan is ranked along with every other state. Here is a partial listing of the metrics:

·       Business climate indicators include metrics such as:

o   Growth in Business Survival

o   Increase in Owner Incomes

o   Net New Establishments

o   Levels of Venture Capital Funding

o   State Business Tax Structures

·       Education metrics includes:

o   Number of STEM-educated workers

o   Number of engineering and other technology degrees awarded

o   Levels of research spending at universities

o   Availability of entrepreneurial education programs

·       Quality of Life metrics include the availability of parks and recreational opportunities and home-ownership rates

The metrics are used to develop three composite rankings:

Entrepreneurial Climate, Entrepreneurial Change, and Entrepreneurial Vitality.

Entrepreneurial Climate combines metrics to measure “the underlying supporting conditions for the entrepreneurial economy.”  Factors include: innovation, capital, and general business conditions. This composite ranking uses 30 of the 137 total metrics gathered and reported upon.  Michigan’s rank is now 6, up from 41 in 2007 and 2008.

Durance says, “What makes this an extraordinary achievement is that Michigan moved up the rankings very dramatically at a time when most other states were also working to improve their entrepreneurial economies. We’re now in the Top 10 states nationally and we rank highest in the industrial Midwest.”

Entrepreneurial Change indicates the direction and momentum of growth in Michigan’s entrepreneurial economy relative to other states.  It is a three-year average of variables tracking the direction of entrepreneurial economy and its growth or decline. Entrepreneurial Change is influenced heavily by Michigan’s business climate, which has increasingly improved since 2009.

“Since 2009, Entrepreneurial Change has picked up momentum and Michigan entrepreneurial activity has become increasingly more robust – and successful. The improvement in Entrepreneurial Change has been dramatic, from the bottom of scores for states in the industrial Midwest in the mid-2000s to above the mid-range today,” reports Graham Toft, PhD, president of GrowthEconomics, Inc., who developed the statistical protocol behind the Score Card and has authored the report each year.

Entrepreneurial Vitality measures the relative level of entrepreneurial activity in each state. This composite ranking includes metrics such as University and Research Institution Spinoffs and Federal Grant Awards.

“Entrepreneurial Vitality is a difficult index to impact. The state’s high level of large industrial and corporate activity overwhelms the activity in the entrepreneurial sector. Although improving, it will take many years for Michigan to build its structural Entrepreneurial Vitality to match its standing 100 years ago. Fortunately, for Michigan, the positive entrepreneurial change index suggests this transformation is under way,” asserts Toft.

Toft adds, “There is no reason to believe that the progress …cannot continue, possibly accelerate. In the coming year, the economic prognosis for Michigan looks very promising, according to the Leading Indexes prepared by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.”

The scorecard was sponsored by Brinks Gilson & Lione, Clark Hill, Consumers Energy, Crain’s Detroit Business, DTE Energy, Michigan Municipal League, Michigan State Housing Authority, and Small Business Association of Michigan.

For more information, or copies of the complete Michigan Entrepreneurial Score Card – 2014 Edition, go to or contact Diane Durance, MiQuest president, at (734) 255-3183, or by email at

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