The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has selected Michigan State University as one of four statewide locations for its Regional Export Network.
The three other locations in the network include Traverse City, Grand Rapids and metro Detroit.
MSU’s International Business Center, housed in the Eli Broad College of Business, will lead the charge in 24 of Michigan’s 83 counties, including mid-Michigan, the Thumb, Lansing, Jackson and southward to the Ohio border. Specifically, the center will help companies develop market strategies for exporting.
Exporting is important for Michigan’s economic development, said IBC Director Tomas Hult, Byington Endowed Chair in Global Marketing at MSU. Last year, more than 14,000 Michigan companies were involved in international trade. The state ranks above the national average with 91 percent of companies participating in some form of exporting. The national average is 82 percent.
“The vast majority of these companies are small- and medium-sized enterprises that need knowledge, skills and resources to export,” he said. “It’s essential for businesses to understand the viability of their product beyond Michigan and the Midwest. Ultimately, successful businesses face a choice: Where should they focus sales and manufacturing? The question could come down to Indiana or India.”
Last year, companies assisted by MEDC’s trade program reported a 49 percent increase over the previous year, which helped create 2,500 new Michigan jobs.
“Not only is MSU’s inclusion as one of four RENs in the state creating internships and experiences for MSU students, MSU is also becoming an instrumental part of job creation in the state,” Hult said.