Annual report shows Muskegon Innovation Hub's economic impact on community

Grand Valley’s Muskegon Innovation Hub recently released its annual report, showing several highlights across key metrics, despite local entrepreneurs and small businesses battling a myriad of issues during the pandemic.

The Hub provides coaching, funding, networking and a coworking space called CoLaunch to help support start-up companies and entrepreneurs.

As part of its biannual report filed with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Hub also provides its own annual report detailing its economic impact to the Lakeshore community.

Kevin Ricco, director of Muskegon Innovation Hub
Kevin Ricco, director of Muskegon Innovation Hub
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

The Hub’s economic impact from October 2020 through September 2021 showed it served 99 companies, 28 of which were new. More than 46 jobs were created and 266 jobs were retained during that time span.

“It’s hard to really tell a complete story with a one-year snapshot,” said Kevin Ricco, the Hub’s director. “As a team, we have been pleasantly surprised by our metrics during the pandemic. 

“People are leaving jobs, and there’ve been supply chain issues, but we’ve still seen some of those entrepreneurs grow, and some took the opportunity to pivot their models and thrive.”

Though the pandemic restricted the center offering in-person events — one of the Hub’s biggest assets — other services were vital in helping businesses get off the ground.

In the report, Ricco points out slots for the CoLaunch coworking area and the incubator program, which provides support and space for entrepreneurs, have been at capacity with a waiting list for the last four years.

Other metrics are showing the pandemic’s lingering economic effects are beginning to subside as well. Follow-on investments — a subsequent investment which follows the initial investment — of Hub-supported businesses grew from $12.5 million in 2020 to $13.1 million in 2021. 

The Hub is already working on plans for helping the region emerge economically from the pandemic. Ricco said this spring they completed an assessment grant through the U.S. Economic Development Association to assist start-up and entrepreneurs across a five-county region.

“We’re happy to have an impact,” said Ricco. “We need to continue to be innovative and find ways to have a bigger impact.”