Lakeshore Advantage reports major economic growth in 2023

Last year, more than $3.2 billion in private investment was made in companies across Allegan and Ottawa Counties, which will bring more than 1,000 new jobs to the region. 

That investment is one of the insights shared by Lakeshore Advantage, the economic development organization for Allegan and Ottawa Counties, in its report “2023 Successful Projects & Achievements.

“Lakeshore Advantage had a remarkable 2023,” says Neil Boehm, board chair of Lakeshore Advantage. “From breaking ground on a regional innovation hub that will pay dividends for startup growth, to spearheading collaborative initiatives that will make this area an even greater place to live, work and do business, this organization continues to raise the bar.”

The report was presented at the organization’s annual meeting, held Feb. 1, that drew nearly 300 business and community leaders.
The report highlighted substantial business growth for the two-county region in 2023 in addition to a number of regional economic successes:
  • Breaking ground on the Next Center, a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Shepherding 26 business expansion projects that resulted in $3.2 billion in private investment and 1,091 new or retained jobs.
  • Leveraging $634.3 million in business support funds.
  • Collaborating to identify high-priority sites for potential industrial development.
  • Extending regional talent tools and resources to human resource leaders.
  • Working with economic development partners across West Michigan to secure $6.1 million for revitalization and placemaking projects.
  • Guiding businesses to stay competitive by implementing smart technology.
The Lakeshore region saw major investments last year from companies in the advanced energy storage, food processing, and smart manufacturing sectors. On the heels of this growth, Lakeshore Advantage announced a new strategic focus on these industry clusters poised for continued expansion.
“It’s clear that companies recognize the immense potential and outstanding workforce this area has to offer,” says Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage. 

While continuing to serve employers across all sectors, the organization will now offer more targeted expertise to spur further development in advanced energy storage, food processing, and smart manufacturing. 
"Our data-driven approach makes it clear that with concentrated efforts on supporting these thriving sectors, we can guide businesses to the tools, resources, and partnerships needed to expand operations and create good jobs,” says Amanda Murray, vice president of business solutions for Lakeshore Advantage. “We want to position these clusters for long-term success in the West Michigan Lakeshore region while continuing to assist businesses across all sectors.”

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.