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The economic impact of Michigan’s ’50 Companies to Watch’ award winners

March 18, 2019

By Brian Calley

What do you suppose the media reaction would be if I had a business prospect who planned to add 825 new jobs over the next four years? What if that prospect had $1.2 billion in sales and had a presence spread all across our whole state? I bet there would be much fanfare and a major competition between states and regions on the creation of an incentive package.

The good news is this prospect is already here. Well, sort of. The economic impact that I described isn’t concentrated in one company. I just described this year’s “50 Companies to Watch“ award winners.

15 years ago, several organizations that focus on small businesses started recognizing the “50 Companies to Watch” annually. The Small Business Association of Michigan was one of the founding partners in this effort to recognize and celebrate these prolific job creators.

Looking back, the “50 Companies to Watch” alumni club over the past 15 years has made a remarkable economic impact on Michigan. Hundreds of companies apply each year and 50 are selected. To apply, you must be a small, second stage business with fewer than 100 employees and less than $50 million in sales.

As part of that process, they report job and sales growth over the previous four years. I went back and totaled the job growth numbers (actual, not projected) of these small companies since we started recognizing them and it came to 12,506. These businesses are spread across every region of our state and are from every industry. They are innovators. They are dynamic. They provide a resiliency to our economy. The economic impact of these small businesses and others like them is huge!

Today, the next class of “50 Companies to Watch” was announced and they are every bit as impressive as those who came before. You can see a full list here.

We’d love to have you join with us at the annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business Gala this year. It’s a great network and it is always an inspirational night. Please join us! 

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