Grand Valley’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center hosted a news conference February 8 to announce a new investment group that has been formed to advance the development of start-ups and mature companies in the Lakeshore area.
The Muskegon Angels will focus on local growth, investment and assistance, specifically in the areas of advanced manufacturing, food processing, technology, and water-related innovations and businesses. The initiative will be housed at MAREC with assistance from Kevin McCurren, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Grand Valley, and the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center.
Arn Boezaart, director of MAREC, said Grand Valley is well suited to support the Muskegon Angels because of the university’s strong business development interests and a range of resources to support entrepreneurial activity.
The idea of an Angel group in Muskegon began in 2012 when individuals in the business community decided Muskegon needed its own Angel investment group rather than relying on investment groups elsewhere. More than 20 individuals are participating, with some members located beyond Muskegon County. Participants agree to invest $125,000 over five years; when fully capitalized, the organization’s financial assets will total more than $2.75 million.
“The announcement of a new privately funded business development resource is a major event for the Muskegon region,” Boezaart said. “The group will help move business innovation from an early stage to a level that will attract traditional bank financing.”
Mike Olthoff of Nichols and Larry Hines of Hines Corporation, with leadership assistance from Eric Seifert of Grand Valley, John Pridnia of Rehmann and Paul Jackson of Warner Norcross, spearheaded the effort.
About Angel groups
Angel groups typically fill a gap when the entrepreneur has exhausted all resources and traditional bank financing is not available or is very limited. Angel investor groups step in to assist at a time when the young business has proven itself to be viable and needs financing for growth. There are many angel investment groups around the country especially in the state of Michigan, including the Grand Angels of greater Grand Rapids.