small business

Michigan's future starts with new ideas

Nov 17, 2014
Wikimedia

Americans love the next thing: the newest gadget, the latest fashion, and all manner of ground-breaking artistic creations. In fact, our entire worldview, economic system, and personal behavior are based on the idea that progress and growth is good.

We are driven to be better and new.

3&UP Board Game Lounge
user: 3&UP Board Game Lounge / facebook

Put away your smartphone and tablets! 

Talk face-to-face, play some board games, and connect with one another.That's the message from 3 & Up Lounge in Plymouth.

Angela Space is co-founder of the lounge. She says she and her husband got the idea from a board game cafe in Toronto, which is a popular cafe style in many countries around the world but hasn't caught on in the U.S.

"We've morphed the idea of a board game cafe where you sell sandwiches, grilled cheese and coffee, and really turn it more into a lounge where people first and foremost connect with each other, and secondarily playing together, having fun, laughing and learning," says Space.

Space says people were a little skeptical at first when they walked in the door, but the cafe has invented some funny ways of persuading people to put away their phones and tablets.

"We have an anti-wifi zone. We let people boo each other," says Space.

* Listen to the interview with Angela Space above.

Proposed food truck rules go back to Ohio mayor

Jul 6, 2014
Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Proposed regulations for food trucks in a northwestern Ohio city have gone back to the mayor for more discussion after opposition from supporters of the mobile businesses. The Blade newspaper in Toledo reports that Toledo City Council declined to vote on Mayor Michael Collins' proposals last week.

Photo courtesy of Carbon Green BioEnergy

Support is growing within the small business community for tighter limits on carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change.

That's according to research by the American Sustainable Business Council. One in five of the surveyed businesses said they had already been hurt by extreme weather events.

Many business owners say they've searched for their own ways to reduce energy costs to become more efficient.

David Levine is CEO of the council. He said small businesses want to see these changes implemented across the board.

IRS Form 1040.
stockphotosforfree.com

Michigan has been cutting taxes for the past 20 years. The key selling point has been that slashing taxes will create economic prosperity.

A new report by the former head of the state Treasury Department's Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis, Douglas Drake, says these tax cuts have instead drained Michigan of economic life, with our per-capita income rank tumbling, and our unemployment rate way above the national average.

Charles Ballard is an economist from Michigan State University.

*Listen to the full show above.

Who's up for the next beer run?
Matt Lehrer / Flickr

What happens when a house party is going full tilt and the beer runs out?

Chances are someone goes on a beer run. And chances are that "someone" has had a few drinks.

A new business that's opened in Ann Arbor aims to keep the party going without that "someone" having to get behind the wheel of a car.

DrinkDrivers is a new website and mobile app launched by a group of University of Central Florida grads who decided to make Ann Arbor its second launch location.

DrinkDrivers CEO Jeff Nadel joined us to explain how it works.

*Listen to the interview above.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow is criticizing her Republican Senate colleagues for blocking a vote on increasing the federal minimum wage.

The bill would have gradually increased the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

Democrats say it would have helped millions of low-income families.

Stabenow says GOP opposition to the wage hike and to legislation to require equal pay for women is "unacceptable".

“This is really the one-two punch that hurts women in Michigan,” says Stabenow. 

Twitter

There's no arguing the fact that startups are a key to a thriving economy. Between 1980 to 2005, for example, nearly all net job creation in the U.S. came from companies less than five years old.

But what does that start-up need before it gets up and running, creating jobs, selling products, paying taxes? It needs capital. And getting that initial dose of money can be a tough challenge for a small business.

That's why there's growing excitement over Michigan's new crowdfunding law. It's called the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption – "MILE."

Let's find out what this new law means for Michigan start-ups and for your opportunities to invest in small businesses.

Sandra Cochrane is a consultant with the Michigan Small Business Development Center, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

One of the most important aspects of the Affordable Care Act is consumer choice. More choice means more competition among insurers, and that can lead to lower costs for consumers.

But if you live in a rural area, you may not have a whole lot of choices when it comes choosing a health plans. On today's Stateside, we took a look at health care in Michigan's rural areas.

Then, Michigan’s new crowdfunding law opens the door to everyday people who want to invest in Michigan-based startups and small businesses. We heard about the benefits and risks that come with crowdfunding for equity.

And, we spoke with Garrison Keillor about the 40th anniversary of A Prairie Home Companion and his upcoming book.

First on the show, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is in Lansing today and tomorrow, getting face-time with the lawmakers whose vote is crucial to the so-called grand bargain, the complicated deal to protect city retirees and the collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Orr heads to Lansing with a new piece of the puzzle in hand: a tentative five-year deal reached Monday with AFSCME, Detroit's largest employee union.

Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood joined us today to give us an idea of what progress has been made and what lies ahead for the city.

Carhartt was made in Michigan.
Carhartt / Facebook

Carhartt got its start in southern Michigan when the company's founder, Hamilton Carhartt, set out to make the best pair of overalls he could for railroad workers.

The company is still family owned and remains in Michigan.

We spoke with the company's current CEO, Mark Valade. He's Hamilton Carhartt's great-grandson.

Listen to our interview with him above.

Wikimedia Commons

As the city of Detroit seeks pathways back to economic health, small businesses are seen as a key. And there can be no conversation about small business owners in Detroit without involving the Arab-American community. 

Most of the grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations in Detroit are owned by Arab-Americans.

And, historically, the relationship between these store owners and their largely African-American customers has been not without its tensions. 

Which is why a recent editorial in The Arab American News caught our eye, and we wanted to share its message with you. 

We're joined now by Osama Siblani, the publisher of The Arab American News.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Erik Hersman / Flickr

State of Opportunity's Kimberly Springer tells us how "the specter of an exclusive, our boutique, access internet looms" after the recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision striking down many of the FCC's "net neutrality" rules.

For the privileged, the demise of net neutrality might mean paying even more for broadband access to Netflix or YouTube---no more buffering...buffering...buffering? But for the less privileged, losing net neutrality puts all of the world's information further out of reach and condemning some to "pay to play" deals. 

Go here to read more.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Fast-food workers in Flint, Detroit, Pontiac, Lansing and other Michigan cities hit the picket lines today.

They are demanding a big increase in the minimum wage.

In Lansing, a small group of protesters chanted and waved signs outside a Pizza Hut.  

Tina Ervin has worked at the pizza joint for the past year. She says she’s having a hard time supporting herself and her three children on $7.40 an hour. Ervin is hopeful the national campaign to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour will succeed.

Joy VanBuhler / Flickr

The Pure Michigan Micro Lending Initiative will begin with $5 million from Huntington Bank to small local businesses in Detroit. The bank has also pledged $25 million to expand the program across the state in the next five years.

The program is a partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Huntington Bank,  the Detroit Development Fund and the Snyder administration. It will provide loans to small businesses anywhere from $500 to $50,000 dollars.

localfirst.com

When it's time to buy something, what's your pattern? Do you head to the big chain store thinking you might save a little bit? Or do you try to take your business and your money to a local business?

Elissa Hillary hopes you think "local first."

"When you are supporting a locally owned business, 73% more money stays in the community and recirculates, and that money goes to create jobs to fund our tax base, to support our infrastructure, and schools and roads and things like that," said Hillary.

She heads up Local First. It’s a Grand Rapids-based group with a mission to get us all to keep our local businesses and merchants top of mind when we go shopping.

She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

User thinkpanama / Flickr

Michigan is number one in the nation for loans being issued to small businesses.

Turns out the Small Business Administration's Michigan district backed 1,221 loans to the tune of nearly $344 million in the first eight months of this fiscal year, which puts the SBA's Michigan district office at the top of the heap in terms of 7A lending.

David Sowerby is an economist with Loomis Sayles in Bloomfield Hills, and he joined us today to discuss what this means for the state.

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan is leading the nation in small business loans. It seems like good news on the surface, but are there economic consequences for so many new start-ups?

And author Keith Taylor stopped by to give us his picks for summer-time reads. His choices might just surprise you.

Also we began a week-long series of stories here on Stateside where we'll hear from immigrants about what America means to them. Today's story came from a young woman who lives at the Salvation Army's Teen Parent Center in Grand Rapids. 

And, we found out how one couple is trying to bring goodness to communities by baking pies.

Also, we welcomed Interlochen Public Radio listeners to Stateside! Listeners from Traverse City to Manistee; Harbor Springs to Ludington, joining in on the conversations and issues that matter to all of us as Michiganders. Together, we'll explore breaking news and better understand policy issues, and we'll discover stories and meet people from every corner of our state.

First on the show, Governor Snyder continues his travels around the state today in southeast Michigan to push for an expansion of Medicaid. Governor Snyder wants to expand the program – using federal funds – to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults.

Snyder has criticized fellow Republicans in the Senate for leaving Lansing for their summer recess without voting on the measure. The state House had already approved the legislation.

Governor Snyder joined us today to discuss the issue.

More than 10,000 people are expected at a street party in Grand Rapids Saturday to celebrate all things local.

Locals bands, local food, and of course local beer; brewed special for the party with locally produced honey. It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for Local First, a non-profit that supports locally owned businesses throughout West Michigan. It's their 10th anniversary.

Executive Director Elissa Hillary says if everyone in Kent County shifted 10% of their purchases to locally owned businesses, it would create 1,600 jobs.

“It’s important for us to just be aware that our daily choices have an impact and that they can have an incredibly positive impact,” Hillary said, “So if we’re making choices to support businesses in our community we’re essentially choosing to support people who live in our community.”

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan was recently ranked fifth on USA Today's list of craft brew states in the country.

Over the past three to four years Michigan has seen a large growth in microbrewies.

There has been recent  buzz within the microbrewery scene in Michigan with news that the state's first 'Mobile Canning' line is being launched.

Microbreweries around the state will be able to get cans of their brew onto store shelves without having to invest in costly canning equipment.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Small business owners want Michigan to make its curriculum standards for high school students more flexible.

The state passed broad standards in 2006 for all students. They are supposed to ensure all students are ready for college.

The Michigan Merit Curriculum requires four years of math and English language arts; three years of science and social studies; and two years of a foreign language. Complete standards are outlined here.

Pages