West Michigan technology and innovation hub ‘Next Center’ planned

Lakeshore Advantage, the economic development organization serving Ottawa and Allegan counties, plans to build the “Next Center” for entrepreneurship and innovation.
The announcement comes as the economic development organization serving Ottawa and Allegan counties marks its 20th anniversary.
The Next Center is intended to be a hub for innovation and business growth to strengthen West  Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The three-story, 20,000-square-foot state-of-the-art office building will be owned and operated by Lakeshore Advantage. It will house a business incubator, community education space and the offices of Lakeshore Advantage. 
“The startup community is important to the ecosystem of even mature businesses,” says Neil  Boehm, board chairman of Lakeshore Advantage. “Many times, they are thought leaders in technology. I think it’s going to add so much to the community.” 
Serving new and current employers
The Next Center, at 65 E. 7th Street in Holland’s SmartZone, an economic development district, will feature a first-floor business incubator with room for up to 50 tenants. The second floor will serve as the new headquarters for Lakeshore Advantage and as a home to second-stage startup companies. The top floor will house an anchor company and partner to incubating startups. Construction is expected to begin this fall and be completed by the end of 2024.  
"This center will be a visible, accessible technology hub in the heart of downtown Holland,” says Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage. “It will allow us to accelerate our next generation of business, but also our established employers.” 
To finalize this project, Lakeshore Advantage seeks to raise $2.3 million. The total construction and operational cost is estimated to be $15.3 million. EV Construction and GMB Architecture + Engineering are leading project design and construction.  

Last year, Lakeshore Advantage supported 33 business growth projects in the two counties, with $2.38 billion invested by local companies and another $436.3 million leveraged. Business growth projects resulted in 3,352 new and retained jobs. In addition, Lakeshore Advantage provided economic support to 302 primary employers and 63 startup companies. 

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