Business Incubation Program
Business Incubation for Energy and Technology Entrepreneurs
Among the multiple roles embodied in MAREC’s mission and vision, the center’s role as an economic development catalyst and a business accelerator is paramount. To fulfill this role, MAREC seeks to support the commercialization of innovative technology with both existing and new companies, and to promote the use of alternative, clean, and renewable energy sources.
MAREC’s Business Incubation Program is an outgrowth of our vision. Under the program, MAREC aims to recruit alternative and renewable energy entrepreneurs and business start-ups who are developing products and services. MAREC provides 4,000-square-feet of space for start-up enterprises, providing knowledge and support resources and an environment that supports business development. In addition, through its partnership with the Michigan Small Business Development Center Center™ (MI-SBTDC™) and its on-site staff presence, MAREC offers conferences, workshops, training, and individual consultation to entrepreneurs.
The program also draws on the benefits and services afforded through MAREC’s status as one of the anchors of the Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone, based in an area formerly known as Edison Landing. This thirty-acre revitalized Brownfield site hosts MAREC as Muskegon County’s only business/ technology incubator. Surrounding MAREC are acreage sites suitable for other business accelerator and venture capital-supported business development opportunities.
The Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone, established in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the City of Muskegon, and Grand Valley State University, was one of the state’s first SmartZones—areas designated to encourage development of new technology or research industry.
Michigan’s SmartZones host a variety of services for high-tech endeavors and are linked with partner universities, offering resources and opportunities not available else-where. The proximity of SmartZone firms aids communication, collaboration, economies of scale, and other benefits.
Among MAREC’s key objectives for the Business Incubation Program are the following:
- Promote alternative and renewable energy technology as an opportunity for economic development.
- Develop intellectual property opportunities for all MAREC partners and stakeholders.
- Accelerate the research and development of alternative and renewable energy technologies. Work collaboratively with others engaged in similar R&D efforts. Develop mentor relationships, promote educational opportunities, utilize GVSU resources and student talent, and collaborate with other educational units to assist in advancing the MAREC vision.
- Use the MAREC incubator facilities to accelerate the development of promising new energy related businesses and technologies, assist in bringing promising technology to maturity, to market, and accelerate the impact and profitability of alternative and renewable energy products.
- Develop and make available a network of business consulting support and business development resources to help inventors, entrepreneurs and early stage start-up companies become viable sooner. Integrate efforts with local inventor networks and partner with local business and industry.
Over the past 18 months, multiple business-oriented programs have been offered at MAREC; they represent the activities the center will offer on a recurring basis. These activities carry significant value and benefit for incubator tenants and provide opportunities to build business skills and networking opportunities:
• Marketing Workshops (3)
• Financial Workshops / Fiscal Fitness seminar (recurring)
• SBTDC-hosted FastTrac New Venture Series (ten-week entrepreneur training)
• Muskegon Inventors Network (monthly meeting at MAREC)
• Business development group meetings – (two or more per week)
As of December, 2013, MAREC’s renewable energy incubator serves several clients:
Jimmy was talking about his supply of jokes, but entrepreneurs can be forgiven if they feel a bit overwhelmed by the number and variety of valuable organizations and websites eager to offer them some kind of help. With so much to choose from, where do entrepreneurs start? What resources do they explore first?
For the West Michigan Lakeshore and nearby, the answer is e-merge. It is uniquely designed to identify the public and private "players" who support entrepreneurism, and to explain what they can provide. It also helps entrepreneurs gain clarity about who can provide support at their particular stage of development, thanks to a "Continuum of Care" feature.
There are also opportunities for mentors and mentees. Finally, if you wonder whether all these offerings can really help, listen and watch people like Scott Erdman of Erdman Machine in Whitehall or attorney Briana Scott in Muskegon as they share their success stories on video.
Questions about e-merge? Contact Suzanne Velarde at email@example.com.
at our new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
616-331-6900 or 231-722-4371
Finance and Strategy Specialist
616-331-6900 or 231-722-4371
Stay in touch with the Business Incubation Program through the MAREC Minute newsletter. Sign up in the left column near the top of this page.
Page last modified October 10, 2014