Poll Results: What Entrepreneurs Want Michigan Cities to OfferBy Amanda Lewan on May 30th, 2014 /
This week we covered the Mackinac Policy Conference for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI Blogger Zone. Thought leaders, CEOs and politicians gathered to discuss ideas for Michigan’s future.
While they discussed ideas about entrepreneurship, we polled 68 entrepreneurs from across the state of Michigan to share their concerns. Our short survey asked why these entrepreneurs choose to locate in Michigan, what resources are helping, and where they would like to see more resources for growing entrepreneurship.
Our results are recapped below in charts. This survey was anonymous to offer an open channel for feedback.
Michigan entrepreneurs are attracted to their current Michigan cities because of affordable rent, talent, and their existing networks (see the “this is my home” was often detailed as friends, family, and network strengths). Many Michigan entrepreneurs wish for more access to investment funding for their businesses, and many also wrote that they would like more walkable cities with more talent and like-minded folks. That is part of what attracts them to stay.
One very positive note, many do see some type of opportunity in their city with several marking the Detroit Brand as a positive reason to stay in the region.
Half of all respondents stated that affordability was a major resource that helped their business grow. Having a mentor was second as a vital factor.
What Local Entrepreneurs Perceive We Still Need
Mentors and Leaders + Talent + Seed Funding. Several of the responses that called for mentorship also wrote that they’d like more access to leaders in companies to collaborate, partner, and share ideas. For funding, some specifically marked early seed funding options are needed. Others indicated that there’s just not enough investment options here, and that’s why many tech entrepreneurs leave for the coasts. There is homegrown talent, but many want more and they want more young professionals in their cities.
“It needs all forms of mentorship and community which fosters connections. More cross-pollination of coders, writers, marketers, people in government, etc.” – Anonymous response
Inclusive Community. Those who cited some aspect of startup community growth as a need, also cited more inclusivity in local communities. Detroit was a city in particular cited as having gatekeepers in the startup community. Specific comments also called for more support for female entrepreneurs, minority entrepreneurs, and those who are not tech startups. For Michigan entrepreneurs, not everyone feels included yet. Diversity here includes all cities, all industries, and all people.
Startup Growth. We used this word below to categorize responses that just stated a need for more entrepreneurs, more startup companies, more like minded individuals in their community.
“We need more affordable spaces that foster collaboration and innovation. Affordable housing downtown. But one single program will not make us an entrepreneurial powerhouse; growth on many levels needs to happen organically. By making Michigan a cooler state to live in, cool companies will follow.” – Anonymous response
Out of this week’s poll 67% of respondents were male. Respondents were predominantly from the tech sector, but touched on many different industries.
What are you thoughts on these results? We hope they shed some light from the entrepreneurs voice on what they’d like to see in their cities, and where policy makers can start to think about what features attract Michigan’s entrepreneurs to stay and grow their companies here.