SURGE marks five years of being a resource for entrepreneurs starting new businesses. This investment has enabled 135 startups to raise more than $ 38 million in capital and create or maintain 400 jobs.
This stage will be marked by a SURGE celebration at the Holland Civic Center from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 17. The event is hosted by Lakeshore Advantage, the local economic development organization that helps employers find growth opportunities in Ottawa and Allegan counties.
This in-person outdoor event will highlight five years of achievement within the Holland SmartZone and showcase local start-ups. It will also be an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to present their ideas as part of the Start Garden 100, Michigan’s largest business competition, which awards $ 1,000 to 100 applicants and $ 20,000 to the 10 finalists.
“Our community has a long history of developing, innovating and manufacturing world-class products. The resources, provided by the SmartZone and the support services developed by our team, will ensure that the story continues for many years to come, ”said Jennifer Owens, President of Lakeshore Advantage. “The SURGE celebration will showcase years of hard work and our thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurs and startups.”
Culture of innovation
The SURGE celebration brings together leaders and champions of the Holland SmartZone, as well as businesses and community members interested in promoting a local culture of innovation and learning more about the region’s startup community.
Gentex, the region’s largest employer, will showcase the company’s cutting-edge technology and products, locally developed and manufactured in western Michigan. Gentex is the primary sponsor of the SURGE celebration, demonstrating its continued commitment to innovation and economic opportunity in the region.
“As a growing technology company and long-time local employer, Gentex remains committed to supporting economic development efforts that help our region grow and maintain its world-class business climate,” says Neil Boehm, CTO at Gentex. “Additionally, we know that the pandemic has created unique needs among established employers and the startup community, which is why we are more motivated to renew our support for both Lakeshore Advantage and the entrepreneurial resources that SURGE provides.
SURGE, the entrepreneurship support organization run by Lakeshore Advantage, guides start-ups towards their next growth milestones and receives funding through the Holland SmartZone.
The Holland SmartZone, established in 2016, is one of 20 such zones across Michigan where tech companies, entrepreneurs and researchers can locate near community assets that aid business activity. in startup.
The Michigan SmartZone network is managed by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC). MEDC is a sponsor of the SURGE Celebration to Support Entrepreneurship Statewide.
“Michigan has a proud reputation for its entrepreneurial spirit and world-class innovation, in part thanks to the passion and commitment of partners like Lakeshore Advantage to supporting startups here in the state,” says Fred Molnar , vice-president of entrepreneurship and innovation at MEDC. “MEDC is proud to support the work that Lakeshore Advantage has accomplished through its SURGE programs and resources over the past five years to support the West Michigan startup community. We look forward to leveraging our partnership with them to continue to grow Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in the years to come. “
Connect with entrepreneurs
The SURGE celebration will include the opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs and their products on display.
Start Garden, a Grand Rapids-based entrepreneurship support organization, will also be in attendance, collecting business idea submissions for its Start Garden 100 Business Idea Presentation competition. Start Garden pop-up booth at the Holland Civic Center on June 17 will receive free entry to the SURGE celebration. Learn more about Start Garden 100 on 100.startgarden.com/.
“We invite the community to come meet our startups and entrepreneurs and gain this first-hand experience of the products and technologies developed here,” says Amanda Chocko, Director of Entrepreneurship at Lakeshore Advantage. “It’s one thing to hear great things happening, it’s completely different to go out and enjoy a night of food, fun and connection with this fantastic community of startups.”
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