I can’t stress enough the importance of small businesses nationally, regionally and locally. Most employment in Michigan is a result of small businesses with fewer than 99 employees creating 63 percent of all businesses, according to the 2017 Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship report. Over half of that percentage has fewer than 25 employees, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
While large corporations tend to get most of the attention and discussion from media, it’s the small enterprises that keep the economic engine running with their lower headcounts but mightier crews. It’s the drive to succeed and the passion to create innovative products and services that make the entrepreneurs stay invested day after day. And, according to WalletHub’s financial team, innovation is the principal driver of the economy. Those small companies are a huge factor in helping the United States stay ranked as No. 6 in the Global Innovation Index.
In the statewide breakdown by WalletHub, Michigan didn’t make the top 10 or the worst 10 for innovation. We were snuggly set in the middle of the pack at 19. The 24 indicators the report is based on help provide a climate of factors that foster innovation friendliness, including areas like STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) preparation, in addition to research and development spending per capita.
While most small businesses are not following this type of data or are just in it for the glory, it’s important to recognize and understand how hard these organizations work and the impact they make in our local area. That’s why this publication curates and hosts the GLBM Entrepreneurial Awards event. We want to shine a light on businesses that generally fly under the radar but are creating an impact larger than we realize.
I want to send a heartfelt congratulations to all those who were nominated by their peers. It’s truly an honor that those in the community really see your effort. This year was particularly great because we gave out our most Innovative Business of the Year Award to Niowave. The organization created a commercial application of a particle accelerator that sends electron beams near the speed of light that are then split, creating medical isotopes used to attack cancer cells without damage to healthy cells. This innovation from a company in downtown Lansing will change lives.
I also want to recognize the Entrepreneur of the Year, Brian Posey. He is the epitome of a passion-driven entrepreneur. He utilized his love of sports and entertainment to create an enterprise where he really loves coming to work every day. My admiration also extends to our other winners, Missy Trudell as our Leadership Award winner, Brian Town as our Entrepreneurial Spirit awardee and Kathy Valentine as our Socially Responsible winner. Each one of their businesses are making an impact in our community. I appreciate them, and I hope you do too.