Lansing, Michigan has been my home for my entire life. It’s also where I’ve chosen to launch and grow my business. I’m deeply passionate about encouraging entrepreneurs to stay, work and thrive in their local communities — right here in Michigan.
Part of my insistence is because I refuse to accept the idea I couldn’t stay in the place I love with the people I love and also have a career I loved. I just rejected it. So many people just accept it and move away. And they miss Michigan. They miss their home. They’ll never fill the hole but they accepted you can’t grow here, and I don’t accept that notion.
Lansing is flourishing with plenty of smart individuals and hard workers, as well as strong business, state government and university sectors. There is no reason why small business owners and entrepreneurs can’t succeed in Michigan’s communities, because many already are.
There are people who stay. People like me, who grew up in this area. People who, rather than go off and chase their dream in other places, choose to build their dreams here. I get that some people left out of absolute necessity — Michigan hasn’t always been a great place to grow. But those of us who’ve stayed here can use our roots here as a way to network the state with a greater world. Geography isn’t a limiting factor in doing business anymore.
Michigan has the potential to become the economic powerhouse it once was and more. We have the people to change our communities and bring the state in line with the rest of the world. I know we have it in us, it’s somewhat hidden and we just need to bring it out.
We are a state that deserves to have businesses built within it. Consultants from around the country are flying in every week, and while that’s great, I don’t see why we can’t be developing that same kind of talent right here. If we can grow and keep our talent, particularly in our IT sector, companies would no longer have to pay to bring these consultants in. We should be able to make those investments here, and we need to encourage Michigan businesses of all sizes to work with local small businesses — not out of pity or state pride, but because we have talented, competitive companies that provide top quality services. We just need to build the connections and facilitate the relationships.
I don’t know what it is, exactly, that makes my hometown and Michigan a place people miss when they’re gone. There’s just something about the Great Lakes State, and I truly believe part of what makes this place great is its people. There are certain places that produce special people and this has been a place that has exported special people all over the world — to Chicago, Phoenix, California. There are these clusters of super successful people from Michigan. Leaders in business and journalism and sports come from Michigan, yet this isn’t the place where they succeeded. They came from working class families and civil servants — these autoworkers and state employees raised remarkable people.
It’s time for us to strengthen the culture of our businesses and families — and strengthen the quality of schools, streets and infrastructure — so people don’t feel like they’re settling by staying in a wonderful place to live. So we recognize the opportunities and encourage our citizens to take risks and grow their communities.
I may not have the answer, but I hope by choosing Lansing and choosing Michigan, I’m a part of the solution.