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Michigan Companies Offering Assistance to Small Businesses in Hopes of Boosting Michigan Economy

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In an effort to improve the state’s overall economy, many established Michigan companies are offering pro-bono services to startups and small businesses to help them stabilize.

“I love how much sense it makes,” said Antoine Dubeauclard, president of company Media Genesis. “We are getting Michigan companies to work with more Michigan companies and helping them become more competitive. There’s real value in it.”

When the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (a multibillion-dollar public-private partnership) launched the Pure Michigan Business Connect initiative in 2011, Media Genesis was one of the first participants. The PMBC program allows companies to pledge pro bono hours for businesses that are still growing.

Media Genesis was founded in 1996 as a web consulting firm, but now provides everything from digital marketing to print design — helpful services for small businesses, 76% of which say an ideal marketing campaign should have both web and print elements. The company has offered 50 Web Strategy Evaluation reports (covering mobile usability, search engine optimization and advertising) that smaller businesses can use to strengthen online marketing efforts.

Many of the companies who have pledged time are big players in their respective fields. Varnum, a statewide law firm, works with Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller clients.

The company, which has engaged widely in philanthropic efforts, jumped at the opportunity to help Michigan’s slowly recovering economy through the PMBC program.

“We looked internally at what Varnum could do to assist and change things up,” said Steve Buquicchio, a partner at the firm. “With a statewide imprint, we could do something for the entire state and translate that into providing a spark into the economy.”

Thus far, about 30 businesses — also including Google, Rehmann and Yeo & Yeo — have committed to more than 30,000 service hours in fields such as legal services, accounting, web strategy, human resources management and more.

“All sorts of entrepreneurs and small businesses can get involved through the MEDC,” Buquicchio concluded. “MEDC really put together a great program here to spark the economy.”

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