The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition shone a bright spotlight on the talented entrepreneurs committed to building businesses in Michigan.  It also showed that investors are eager to support these emerging companies.

Equally as powerful in building our entrepreneurial culture here in Michigan was the collaboration that the competition inspired. Business accelerators, economic development groups, and universities from around the state worked hard, together, to make the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition a success.  And, in that way, the competition will have a ripple effect on our economy for years to come.

It’s undeniably true is that we accomplish more when working together.  By leveraging each other’s strengths and resources, more entrepreneurs have access to the best business support, talent enhancement, research and other capabilities that can make or break an early stage company.

Organizations, like people, flourish when doing what they do best.  There’s simply no need for an organization to duplicate an effort already underway, and thriving, somewhere else within the state.

Tapping into University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship, for example, is a way that business owners can learn more about the nuts and bolts of business growth.  Similar programs are offered through Wayne State University and Michigan State University.   Programs like Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp supplement these programs.  In fact, all of these organizations are sources of referral to and from Ann Arbor SPARK.

It’s no longer a competition among cities, regions or states for business attraction and retention, it’s a competition among states, countries and continents.  With that shift comes an important, necessary shift in economic development, from competitive to collaborative.   The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is an example that showed how successful we can be as a state by committing to working together.

Beyond simply helping individual companies thrive, collaboration is what’s necessary to make Michigan successful. The win-lose mentality that has long plagued economic development won’t drive success in the 21st century.  We are stronger, as regions, and as a state, when we work together.  As a result, the companies we’re helping grow are stronger, too.

Collaboration creates an entrepreneurial eco-system where the seeds of growth are watered by the strengths and talents of the organizations established throughout the state to help emerging businesses. Being aware of those resources and finding new ways to collaborate is the next step in continuing to accelerate Michigan.