MTEC SmartZone to continue providing vital startup services through additional support from the state

HOUGHTON — In February this year, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) Board approved a one-year extension of its $100,000 Gateway Representative Business Incubator Grant for MTEC SmartZone. The grant, administered through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), will enable continued support of high-tech start-up businesses based in the Houghton/Hancock area.

“The Gateway Grants have proven to be an essential funding source,” said MTEC’s Chief Commercial Officer, Patrick Visser, “It has enabled MTEC SmartZone to bring additional value to our startup clients through outreach – these efforts include attending a variety of conferences, investor meetings, seminars and other important networking events to build and expend relationships, and share information with investors, potential customers and strategic partners. These support activities are particularly important for traditionally under-represented companies such as women and minority owned startups. The grant also allows us to connect clients with MEDC programs and resources, and spend the necessary time to support these initiatives.”

The Gateway Representative Business Incubator program supports the 21 SmartZones across Michigan by assigning a dedicated representative at each SmartZone to serve as a point of contact for startup companies. MTEC SmartZone has received support through the program since 2016, during which time it has served 255 companies, helped to form 31 new companies and created 189 jobs.

SightLine, a predictive analytics company focused on enrollment, retention, financial aid and budgeting for higher education, is one of many MTEC SmartZone clients that have benefited from the Gateway Representative Grant. Founder and CEO Ashley Kern said “Patrick Visser, MTEC CCO, personally committed his time to introduce SightLine to investors and various state resources and funding. He was integral in helping us prepare for and close our first round of financing. Patrick helped us navigate many business hurdles while keeping our best interest in mind.”

“Resources like the Gateway Representative Business Incubator program have been critical to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Michigan where high-tech companies of all sizes can not only grow but thrive,” said Denise Graves, University Relations Director for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiative at MEDC. “We are pleased to offer this continued support to our great partners at the MTEC SmartZone in Houghton – and others throughout the state – to ensure Michigan remains an innovative home for entrepreneurial opportunities.”

The Gateway Representative Business Incubator program supports MTEC’s mission in accelerating hightech business growth by supporting entrepreneurial activities such as making important connections, exploring investment opportunities, and finding important local and state resources. Through programs like

these, which are crucial to the growth and sustainability of high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystems, the state invests in the future of Michigan-based high-tech innovations like those coming from the driven start-up community present in Houghton County.

Find out how MTEC SmartZone can help get your high-tech business started in the right direction (www.mtecsz.com).


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