Michigan: An Unexpected Role Model for Growth


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attraction of venture capital and development of new companies, and we freely shared our model with them. They are now establishing their own fund modeled after ours, and are using it as a means to connect their most important organizations with some of their youngest. This is great news for Ohio, and portends similar innovative approaches by other regions of Middle America. And you can bet that, despite the annual Wolverine-Buckeye battle, we’ll be working closely with our Ohio friends to strengthen both of our efforts.

The message in all of this is that the discussions of the “old economy” and “new economy” are really off base. A strong region requires constant innovation in both well-established industries and new ones, and regions need to support ideas that can both transform existing industries and establish new ones. Every state has skills and characteristics that are strengths; ours in Michigan include our science and engineering talent as well as our engaged business community. However, those regional advantages can be lost when each is working in isolation.

With Renaissance and our partners, we’ve created a synergy among those strengths through a network that should help our new companies blossom and our established businesses grow stronger, ultimately resulting in the kind of economic growth and diversity that makes a region both vital and an exciting place to live and work—and moving Michigan even further from its old “rust belt” moniker.

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Chris Rizik is the Chief Executive Officer and Fund Manager of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, a venture capital fund of funds formed by a consortium of several of Michigan’s largest corporations. Follow @ChrisRizik

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