Update on Lakeshore Advantage

Lakeshore Advantage (LA) was founded in 2003 as the economic development agency of Ottawa and Allegan Counties. They have 13 staff and are funded by 160 firms. Their main goal is to maintain a robust base of employers. The focus is on "primary employers" who sell more outside the region than within the region. These firms provide 30% of the jobs and each job provides 2-3 other jobs in related areas. Our region is highly diversified.
Grow - LA is continually surveying industry to make data-driven decisions. Every year they prepare a report on industry trends.
Plan - Long-term planning is key. In 2015 the region became a recognized Smart Zone allowing support of new and developing technologies. The Next Gen program is housed in the Riverview Building in downtown Holland. The SURGE incubator program has developed new companies. In the first year, the entrepreneurs in SURGE raised $300,000 in funds while last year $31 million was raised.
LA will be moving to the Next Center on the corner of College Ave and 7th St when it is completed in 2024. Ground was just broken for the construction of this building. It will contain incubator space, a 50-person learning lab, a pitch stage, startup support areas, and the offices of Lakeshore Advantage.
Solve - Talent is a major focus of LA. Attracting, developing, and retaining talent are all necessary. The biggest challenges in our region are housing, childcare, and transportation.