Street Talk: Small but significant

Port call.
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Don’t be misled by the word “small.”

Michigan Celebrates Small Business recently released its 2022 list of 50 Companies to Watch awardees. They may be small, but they have generated significant economic impact across the state.

In 2021, these businesses generated $352 million in total annual revenue, an increase of 37% since 2020. The companies reported 1,418 full-time equivalent employees in 2021 and project 522 net new jobs for 2022.

These numbers aren’t new. The annual winners have been increasing their impact since 2018. For the last four years, the Michigan 50 awardees generated $914.7 million in revenue and added 770 employees to their workforce, reflecting a 56% increase in revenue and 60% increase in jobs for the four-year period.

The honorees come from across the Mitten, with members from West Michigan, Metro Detroit and even the Upper Peninsula. They will all unite at the 18th annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business Gala on May 3.

“The impact of these 50 small businesses cannot be overstated. They are the backbone of Michigan’s economy, and we are so excited to celebrate them at the gala,” said Jennifer Deamud, MCSB board chair and executive director of Michigan Manufacturing Growth Alliance.

At the event, over 800 guests will gather in-person at the Breslin Center in East Lansing to celebrate the achievements of this year’s award recipients.

There have been over 1,000 companies honored at MCSB over the past 18 years, which includes 900 second-stage companies recognized by a Michigan 50 Companies to Watch Award.

The six founding partners created an annual awards gala to recognize small business and second-stage companies. The founding organizations of Michigan Celebrates are: Edward Lowe Foundation; Michigan Business Network; Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Michigan Small Business Development Center; Small Business Association of Michigan; and U.S. Small Business Administration-Michigan District Office.

Additional information and ticket information can be found at MichiganCelebrates.org.

Senior moments

Senior Neighbors, a nonprofit agency focused on enhancing the lives of seniors in Kent County by providing independent living services like transportation, case management, home repair assistance and senior center activities, is accepting nominees for its fifth annual 16 Over 60 Awards.

The awards will recognize the inspirational contributions of 16 individuals 60 years of age or more living in Kent County who positively impact their friends, family and community. The deadline to nominate individuals is June 1. Nominations can be submitted at https://seniorneighbors.org/nominations.  

“Every day our community is positively impacted by the leadership and social contributions from older adults in Kent County,” said Bob Barnes, Senior Neighbors president. “This population continues to strengthen our community and shape West Michigan through business excellence, caregiving, activism and volunteering.”

“This is a great opportunity for us to all take a moment to focus on something positive and uplifting in what has been a difficult past few years,” added Brian Clark, Senior Neighbors director of development and donor care. “There are so many people out there in Kent County making our world a better place and we need help recognizing them. We believe that everyone knows someone who deserves this nomination.”

Nominees must be a resident of Kent County or have their contributions take place in Kent County, 60 years of age or more by April 1, 2022, and contributions must be currently taking place or have taken place in the last 12 months.

Honorees will be recognized at a gala on Nov. 16.

Supply demand

The nation’s major retail container ports have begun to catch up with the backlog of cargo seen over the past several months, but could experience another surge this summer, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“As we entered 2022, the biggest question was when the supply chain would return to normal,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Unfortunately, we still don’t have a definitive answer. Congestion at West Coast ports has eased, but congestion at some East Coast ports is growing. Ports aren’t as overwhelmed as they were a year ago, but they are still significantly busy moving near-record volumes of cargo.”

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.11 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units — one 20-foot container or its equivalent — in February, the latest month for which final numbers are available. That was down 2.3% from January but up 13% year-over-year.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said volumes remained high in February despite factories in parts of Asia closing for the Lunar New Year holiday because U.S. ports were able to handle cargo from ships already waiting for a berth.

“With West Coast ports still congested, there were still plenty of containers to be unloaded,” Hackett said. Similarly, the current near-shutdown of Shanghai because of COVID-19 precautions means fewer ships are leaving China and “the wait on that side of the Pacific will help reduce the pressure of vessel arrivals at Los Angeles-area terminals.” He said an influx of vessel arrivals following the resumption of normal operations in China could result in renewed congestion at U.S. ports, however.

Ports have not yet reported March numbers, but Global Port Tracker projected the month at 2.27 million TEU, unchanged from the same month last year. April is forecast at 2.13 million TEU, down 1.1% from last year, and May at 2.21 million TEU, down 5.3% year-over-year. Increases are expected to resume in June, which is forecast at 2.26 million TEU, up 5.2% year-over-year. July is forecast at 2.32 million TEU, up 5.6%, and August at 2.35 million TEU, a 3.3% year-over-year increase that would set a new record for the number of containers imported in a single month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002. The current record is 2.33 million TEU in May 2021.

The first six months of 2022 are expected to total 13.1 million TEU, up 2.5% year-over-year. Imports for all of 2021 totaled 25.8 million TEU, a 17.4% increase over 2020’s previous annual record of 22 million TEU.

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