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Media Center

Welcome to the Media Resource Center.  Here you'll find press releases, images, webcasts, postcasts and the latest news and information about Business Leaders for Michigan and its work.  Please consider bookmarking this page and return frequently for the most up-to-date information.



Business Leaders for Michigan Takes "Michigan Ambassador Program" to Washington D.C. 

Top corporate CEOs, joined by Governor Snyder, meet national  executives with strong Michigan ties

Washington D.C., July 31, 2014 — Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state's business roundtable, today brought leading corporate executives to Washington D.C. to meet with Michigan “alumni” to talk about Michigan’s reestablished position as a leading location for business development and expansion.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder joined executives in emphasizing the state’s progress on key factors that lead to economic expansion.     

“In just a few short years, Michigan has transformed its business climate,” said Doug Rothwell, Business Leaders for Michigan President and CEO. “The steps Michigan has taken to become more competitive have paid off.  Our tax climate has flipped from one of the nation’s worst to one of the best, Michigan is a national leader in terms of R&D and talent production and Michigan’s per capita GDP, per capita income and employment have all grown faster than the national average.”

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Business Leaders for Michigan Applauds Legislature’s action on FY 2015 University Budget

Provides most significant investment in higher education in over a decade, helps make college affordable

DETROIT, Mich. June 11, 2014 —Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, strongly applauded today final passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget for the state’s public universities. 

The budget provides a 5.9% increase for Michigan’s 15 public universities. Half of the funding is based on performance measures that reward schools for producing graduates to fill Michigan jobs and to control costs and increase affordability for Michigan students. In addition the budget provides a 5.9% increase for state programs to help students at private colleges pay for their tuition. 

Doug Rothwell, BLM President & CEO, explained the importance of the action, “Increasing funding for our public universities and tying that funding to affordability and performance has been a foundation of our Michigan Turnaround Plan and is critical to making Michigan a top ten state for jobs, personal income, and a healthy economy. In the next 10 years and beyond, Michigan will need more workers with education and training beyond high school to fill job demand. This budget will help make college more affordable so that Michigan students can get the skills necessary to fill those jobs.” 

Mr. Rothwell praised the Governor and legislative leaders for adopting a budget that marks the most significant investment in higher education in a decade. “As Michigan has begun to turn around and its economic condition has improved, Governor Snyder has made reinvesting in higher education a priority. In the legislature, Senator Tonya Schuitmaker and Representative Al Pscholka have been staunch advocates for increasing state support and making college more affordable for Michigan families. They all deserve tremendous credit for reversing a decade-long trend of disinvestment in one of our state’s most important resources.” 

“We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Snyder, our legislative leaders, and our state universities to produce the graduates we need and to make college even more affordable.”



Renaissance Venture Capital Fund Brings More Capital to Michigan Through Investment in River Cities Capital Funds

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 4, 2014  – Renaissance Venture Capital Fund (RVCF), the venture capital fund-of-funds created by some of Michigan’s largest organizations, announced today that it has invested in River Cities Capital Funds, a growth equity firm investing in healthcare and IT companies. 

“In addition to investing in the strongest Michigan-based venture capital funds, a goal of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund is to attract leading national venture capital funds to become active in Michigan,” said Chris Rizik, CEO of the Fund. “RVCF is pleased to invest in River Cities Capital, as their skills complement our region’s growing success in creating innovative companies. River Cities Capital is a major growth equity investor and has a sterling reputation for supporting companies in healthcare and IT.”

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Business Leaders for Michigan Applauds Senate’s Action to Help Detroit exit from Bankruptcy

DETROIT, Mich. June 3, 2014 —Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, applauded today the passage of legislation in the Michigan Senate to facilitate Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy. 

The 9-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, applauded the passage, “This package will help continue the momentum, progress and cooperation building in Detroit by helping the city get through the largest municipal bankruptcy in history in sound fiscal condition. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and Senator Gretchen Whitmer provided tremendous leadership in securing passage of this important legislation. ”

Rothwell further explained, “Detroit is critical to Michigan’s turnaround. This legislation allows for meaningful and positive change to occur in our state's largest city. When it comes to Michigan’s turnaround, we are all Detroiters now.” 

About Business Leaders for Michigan:

Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a "Top Ten" state for job, economic and personal income growth. The organization is composed exclusively of the chairpersons, chief executive officers, or most senior executives of Michigan's largest companies and universities.  Our members drive over 25% of the state’s economy, provide over 325,000 direct and 820,000 indirect jobs in Michigan, generate over $1 Trillion in annual revenue and serve nearly one half of all Michigan public university students. Find out more at: 


Download the statement. 


Business Leaders for Michigan endorses Rick Snyder for Governor

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich., May 29, 2014 – Today, the Business Leaders for Michigan’s Political Action Committee (PAC) announced its unanimous endorsement of Governor Rick Snyder in Michigan’s gubernatorial election in November. 

“Confidence is high from the business community that under the Governor’s leadership that Michigan is on the right path for a full recovery,” said Michael J. Jandernoa, Director, Perrigo and BLM PAC Co-Chair.  “The state is clearly turning around. Michigan’s fiscal house is in order, state long-term debt has been reduced, the burdensome Michigan Business Tax has been eliminated and our state is much more competitive.  The Governor has prioritized state investments in areas that will most help our economy grow, such as preschool education and higher education.” 

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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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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. 


Business Leaders Forecast: In Short- and Long-Term, Job Leaders Continue to be More Optimistic about MI Economy than U.S. Economy 

DETROIT, Mich., April 23, 2014 – Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, projects that the Michigan and U.S. economies will grow in the next 6 and 18 months and expects Michigan’s economy to continue to outperform the U.S. economy.

“The good news from this survey is that Michigan’s largest employers continue to be much more optimistic about Michigan’s short- and long-term economic prospects than they were a couple of years ago,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO.  “Job providers continue to be bullish on the state’s economic prospects and are backing it up with increased hiring and investment. More than half of Business Leaders for Michigan companies are forecasting increased investment in Michigan over the next six months.”

Highlights of the survey of Business Leaders for Michigan include:

  • Fifty-four percent of business leaders believe Michigan’s economy will grow while only 34% forecast the U.S. economy will grow the next six months.  None believe the economy will get worse over the next six months.

  • Optimism continues to be high for Michigan’s economy in the long-term, outpacing optimism for the national economy with 71% of Michigan’s business leaders believing the state’s economy will grow compared to only 46% of business leaders forecasting the U.S. economy will grow in the next 18 months.

  • Fifty-four percent of business leaders project that their companies will add jobs in the next six months in Michigan and over a half believe they will make capital investments in Michigan.

The results reflect a survey of Business Leaders for Michigan’s 80 executives, the state’s largest private sector job providers that represent nearly one-quarter of the state’s economy. 

Quarterly Economic Outlook Reports are available at


Renaissance Expands Reach with Investment in Growth Stage Fund Plymouth Venture Partners III

ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 14, 2014 – Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, the venture capital fund-of-funds created by some of Michigan’s most important organizations, announced today that it has made an investment in Ann Arbor-based venture capital fund Plymouth Venture Partners III, an innovative fund that invests in growth stage companies – a vital class of businesses often underserved by other investors and lenders.

“Several years ago, Plymouth Ventures developed a strategy to provide growth funding to promising Midwest companies that had few alternatives and that were stymied in their progression because of the lack of available capital,” said Chris Rizik, CEO of the Renaissance Fund. “While these are solid, revenue producing, high potential companies, the lack of available financing capital limited their growth, and addressing it was a good opportunity for smart investors like the team at Plymouth. We are pleased to now be part of Plymouth’s newest fund and to play a part in its development into one of the Midwest’s top growth investors.   We believe that Plymouth will continue to successfully fill an important need for our region and help Michigan companies grow.”

“We are excited to have Renaissance Venture Capital Fund as our newest investor,” said Mark Horne, Chief Executive Officer of Plymouth Ventures. “Renaissance is an important source of capital, but perhaps more important is the strategic network it brings, with the ability to connect venture capital and growth stage companies to many of Michigan’s biggest corporations. We believe this relationship will bring new opportunities to us and the companies in our portfolio.”

Plymouth Venture Partners III is the 16th investment made by the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund.

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