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Summit plays matchmaker for food firms

By Jenni Spinner+

27-Mar-2014

The Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit connected food firms with retailers, growers, and other key supply-chain partners.
The Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit connected food firms with retailers, growers, and other key supply-chain partners.

The Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit brings together the state’s food and beverage processors with retailers like Whole Foods, and raw materials suppliers.

Hosted by Pure Michigan Business Connect and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the one-day event fostered networking among processors, growers, retailers, and buyers. More than 200 food and agriculture suppliers, growers, and processors from around the state connected with buyers from Whole Foods, Kroger, Sysco, Meijer, and other large Michigan companies.

Economic revival

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said the summit is a prime example of the state’s efforts to bring its once-faltering economy back to life.

This is the type of collaborative, innovative economic development initiative that is driving Michigan’s comeback,” he said. “We’re confident that the partnerships developed at this summit will continue to grow, resulting in more and better jobs for Michigan families.”

The purpose of the event, held in Lansing, Michigan, was to encourage business-to-business activity and manufacturing growth within the state.

Successful networking

According to MDARD director Jamie Clover Adams, the summit was a rousing success.

Today’s Summit provided a great platform to bring Michigan buyers and suppliers around the same table to create new business opportunities for our state,” she said. “The networking and connections made today will lead to increased economic development and job creation with Michigan’s food and agriculture industry.

Michigan Economic Development Corp. president/CEO Michael A. Finney said Pure Michigan Business Connect programs like the summit has been effective in helping companies like food processing firms grow.

We estimate that since Pure Michigan Business Connect launched, the program has facilitated $1.6bn in revenue for Michigan companies,” Finney said.

Making connections

The summit marked the first step in a long-term plan to create connections across the supply chain, and encourage market access, to encourage food processing activity and job growth in Michigan.

Launched in 2011, Pure Michigan Business Connect is a public-private alliance of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., state agencies, and Michigan companies and organizations. It assists companies in the state in raising capital, accessing business services, identify supplier opportunities, and improving their supply chains.

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