Ann Arbor has not yet achieved the status of entrepreneurial hotbeds like Austin, Texas, and Madison, Wis. The city lags far behind Madison in attracting young professionals, said Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future Inc., an Ann Arbor think tank. ...
... Longer-term, [Ann Arbor SPARK (the local economic development organization)] hopes to provide small firms in the area with resources that could enable them to grow more quickly into larger companies. Like other cities in Michigan, Ann Arbor suffers from a shortage of experienced executive-level talent and its start-ups need more capital.
Ann Arbor's shortcomings remind me of one of Pittsburgh's problems. There are plenty of ideas coming out of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. But small startups often need to relocate in search of more funding and experienced entrepreneurial talent.
Where are these companies going? Primarily, to the coasts: Boston and Silicon Valley. If Rust Belt cities could collaborate more effectively, more companies might be able to grow in the mega-region. Instead, each state and each shrinking city is going after the brass ring. This dilutes the talent pool and helps to prop up the comparative advantage of established entrepreneurial centers.