Gov. Asks For Credit Unions' Help In Getting Capital To Businesses

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Gov. Jennifer Granholm asked credit union leaders to help her turn Michigan into an "economic global powerhouse" by giving young entrepreneurs access to capital and providing financial expertise to help their businesses grow.

"We want our young people to see themselves as entrepreneurs," she told a large crowd of CU executives during the Michigan Credit Union League Annual Convention & Exposition here last week.

Granholm, who strongly supported the recent passage of the State CU Act, outlined her plan on "how to the grow the economy," which includes streamlining state policies to make it easier and faster for businesses to get started in the state, restructuring business taxes to make them fair and competitive and focusing on ways to keep Michigan's auto manufacturers and other businesses from leaving the state.

"A lot of jobs are being lured overseas," she said. "We need to make sure that our state policies and state system is as nimble as possible."

Among her specific goals, she said, is to shorten the amount of time it takes for new businesses to get all the necessary permits, licenses and approvals. "We're creating a one-stop shop . . . to grant permits in six months or less."

Granholm, who received standing ovations from the audience as she entered the room, then again as she made her way on stage, said the government is also looking at ways to attract more homeland security and life sciences businesses to the state.

While Michigan has had more than its share of financial trouble with a $3-billion deficit- "We've got no money," Granholm said-the Governor promised to make Michigan "cool" enough to attract the workforce as well.

"Businesses go where the workforces are," she said. "So we need to have places for the young people to go. We need to create cities that are vibrant and appealing."

Next month, Granholm said she hopes to grab some headlines as she tours the state and experiences some of its "hidden treasures" that include kayaking and "cherry spitting" in Traverse City.

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