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Middle market center launches several new programs

Published: 2012-02-21

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Before an audience of policymakers and business leaders in Washington, D.C., professor Anil Makhija, academic director for the National Center for the Middle Market, stated middle market manufacturers are not receiving the attention they deserve from policymakers.

Makhija was a panelist at the What Works Summit on American Competitiveness held Feb. 13. The four-day event in the nation’s capital, hosted by GE, was dedicated to discussions on America’s long-term economic and industry growth with a focus on manufacturing, innovation and jobs.

Makhija’s participation in the event included a discussion of the work emerging from the National Center for the Middle Market since it was established in October 2011. The first of its kind in the nation, the National Center for the Middle Market Center (NCMM) is the result of a long-term partnership between Fisher and GE Capital. The center is dedicated to exploring the middle market economy ,driving its growth, engaging students in middle market opportunities, as well as providing training and networking opportunities to middle market executives.

During the Washington, D.C. summit, hosted by GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, Makhija expanded on the recent research on the middle market. “Middle market manufacturers are currently experiencing pronounced growth,” he said.  “Middle market manufacturing companies tell us in our survey that access to capital is an essential or important ingredient for their growth, and that they have better debt levels compared to their peers in the middle market.  Yet, they find it harder than other middle market firms to access capital.  They also lack a formal advocate and the resources to share their views on the policy agenda.”

In an effort to provide more support to this market and its business leaders, the NCMM has established several new programs. In February, the center unveiled its new website and on Feb. 7 launched the first in a series of Growth Champion webinars.

Greg Tunney, CEO of RG Barry, and Nancy Abbott of GE Capital’s Leader Organization and Staffing provided their insight on corporate culture.  Raymond Noe, the Robert and Anne Hoyt Designated Professor of Management and Human Resources, moderated the discussion.

More webinars and executive education courses are planned for the upcoming months. After an initial call for academic research on the middle market economy, 14 proposals were awarded grants and research is now underway.
 
“The center is moving from vision to reality and it’s exciting,” said Doug Farren, associate director of the center. “The response from faculty, students, and our corporate partners has been tremendous.” Planning has already begun for the second National Middle Market Summit, which will be held Oct 23-24, 2012 at the Ohio Union.

The center and GE Capital are also throwing their resources behind student activities. GE Capital is the new sponsor of the Fisher Invitational MBA Case Competition (formerly the Big 10 Case Competition).