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Business Leaders for Michigan is an organization dedicated to making Michigan a "Top Ten" state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. Serving as the state's business roundtable, Business Leaders for Michigan is composed of the chairpersons, chief executives or most senior executives of the state’s largest job providers and universities. Read more...

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Business Leaders for Michigan Applauds Legislation to Help Detroit exit from Bankruptcy

Urges Swift Passage in State Senate 

DETROIT, Mich. May 22, 2014 —Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, applauded today the passage of legislation in the House of Representatives to facilitate Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy. 

The 11-bill package of legislation provides a significant contribution to the comprehensive financial restructuring plan for Detroit and the establishment of a financial oversight process to ensure the maintenance of sound fiscal practices that will improve city services.

Doug Rothwell, President & CEO, cheered the passage, “This package represents an opportunity to make history, by getting Detroit through the largest municipal bankruptcy ever, on-time and in sound fiscal condition, and provide a model for the nation. Representative John Walsh and Representative Tom Stallworth deserve tremendous credit for their leadership in securing passage of this important legislation.”

Rothwell further explained, “To those outside our borders, Michigan’s image is greatly influenced by the image of Detroit, so it is critical for Detroit and Michigan, that Detroit be able to meet the citizens’ expectations for providing sound fiscal management, effective public safety, and cost-effective and reliable basic services.”

Voters across Michigan understand this. BLM polling research shows that majorities of Michigan voters from every part of the state recognize the importance of Detroit to the state’s economy and support the state making a significant financial contribution to a restructuring plan.  

The legislation now moves to the Senate. “We are extremely pleased by the broad bipartisan support this legislation received in the House, and we respectfully urge quick action in the Senate to complete this critical work,” said Rothwell.

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 Download the press release. 



Renaissance Venture Capital Fund Helps to Attract Nearly Half a Billion Dollars of New Investment into Michigan Companies 

DETROIT, Mich., May 19, 2013 – The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund (RVCF), Michigan’s innovative venture capital fund-of-funds, today announced its initial investments have attracted total investments of nearly a half billion dollars in 23 young Michigan companies.

“For every dollar invested by RVCF, we’ve attracted $21 of new capital for Michigan companies,” said RVCF CEO Chris Rizik. “And even more important, we’ve helped create hundreds of high-wage Michigan jobs in the process.”

Rizik said that the average pay for the new jobs created in Michigan is $85,000.

“The combination of prudent, well researched investing and of connecting capital with opportunities has been the key to the success of the RVCF,” Rizik said. “We not only provide capital to increase entrepreneurial activity, we also connect young innovative start-ups with Michigan’s established companies that can become important customers or partners. We have a proven model for expanding innovation, growing jobs and earning solid returns for our investors.”


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BLM supports steps to accelerate Detroit's exit from municipal bankruptcy in a sound fiscal condition

Below you will find a letter from Business Leaders for Michigan to Rep. John Walsh, Chairman of the Committee on Detroit's Recovery and Michigan's Future.  

The Honorable John Walsh
Chairman, Detroit’s Recovery and Michigan’s Future Committee
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI  48909 

Dear Representative Walsh:

Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) supports the state taking steps to accelerate Detroit’s exit from municipal bankruptcy in a sound fiscal condition.  As such, we support the state making a significant contribution to the comprehensive financial restructuring plan being developed by the Emergency Manager.  We also strongly support the establishment of a financial oversight process to ensure the maintenance of sound fiscal practices that will improve city services.  However, we urge the legislature to minimize the imposition of regulations or provisions that might jeopardize the financial restructuring plan’s approval.

Our Michigan Turnaround Plan recognizes the importance of cities, particularly Detroit, to the entire state’s economic growth.  Our position is based on facts that identify our largest cities as the core of state regions that disproportionately drive the economy and are the image of Michigan outside our state’s borders.  For example, the whole state is benefitting from Detroit’s stronger economy and recent positive global media coverage of Detroit’s redevelopment.  As such, we have consistently supported state policies that encourage the redevelopment of cities and actions to help get local finances in order, such as the Emergency Management Act. 

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High Hopes for Detroit

Across Michigan, voters say they want a revitalized, healthy Detroit.  Nearly 90 percent of the statewide voters surveyed at the end of April believe the Motor City offers promise to the state as a whole, and they are eager to see renewal, transformation, and collaboration.

Detroit bankruptcy support

There is a strong sentiment that Detroit is on the right trackA large margin of the people surveyed (66%) say they support a 20-year/$350 million funding proposal that matches state funds with private foundation support to protect City pension benefits and preserve the DIA's art collection.

That's a pretty clear mandate for change.  The Governor and those who have been working hard to identify innovative strategies for Detroit have the support of Michiganders in all regions of the state. Let's use the momentum to deliver meaningful change for us all. It's important to remember that while the City's government structure is going through bankruptcy and righting itself... businesses in the City have been investing and growing.

When it comes to MI's turnaround, we are all Detroiters now. Let's work together and make change happen.


Michigan Voters: “Let’s Fix Detroit”

Statewide Survey Shows Widespread Support for City’s Recovery

DETROIT, Mich., May 8, 2014  Business Leaders for Michigan today released the results of a statewide survey showing more than 87 percent of Michigan voters believe revitalizing Detroit is important to the state’s overall economy. 

In addition, more than 45 percent of Michigan voters approve of the way Gov. Snyder has handled the city’s bankruptcy.

“All across Michigan—from the Upper Peninsula and the Thumb to West and Southeast Michigan—we’re seeing strong value being placed on a healthy Detroit,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “Whatever the solution is at the end of the day, it’s clear that voters know we need a strong Detroit to keep building a vital economy for our entire state.”

The BLM survey also showed that a large margin of voters (66%) also support a 20-year/$350 million funding proposal to be used as a state match to private foundation support as part of an overall deal to protect pension benefits and preserve the DIA’s art collection.

 “Voter support for a Detroit funding proposal is above 50 percent in every region of the state and crosses party lines,” Rothwell said.  “Democrats, Republican, Independents—they all support state involvement and support for Detroit’s fiscal health.”

The 600-sample telephone survey of registered likely Michigan General Election voters was conducted by the Glengariff Group between April 22–26, 2014.  The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.0 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.

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Download the press release and survey.