Exterior of Muskegon Innovation Hub

Muskegon Innovation Hub recipient of $1.7 million grant

Hub is one of 27 organizations across the state to receive funds

Grand Valley’s Muskegon Innovation Hub will receive $1.7 million in grants to provide guidance and resources for West Michigan entrepreneurs and help support small businesses.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced November 9 that the Muskegon Innovation Hub was one of 27 organizations selected from hundreds of applicants to receive grant funds from the state’s Small Business Support Hub program.

Kevin Ricco, director of the Muskegon Innovation Hub, said the grant will allow the center to have a broader and deeper reach across its footprint through Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, Mason and western Kent and northern Ottawa counties.

“The grant is going to allow us to really grow what we do and definitely reach further into those communities that we know we serve and represent,” Ricco said. “We just haven’t had the staff or the resources to do it.”

Ricco added that a $200,000 segment of the grant will help provide funding directly to small businesses and entrepreneurs who may struggle in securing capital.

“There are a number of grant programs that exist at the state level that exist to help high tech companies,” Ricco said. “But then there are a lot of other entrepreneurs and small businesses that struggle to find funding and help. This is going to give us an opportunity to help that segment that doesn't have another alternative.”

Kevin Ricco, director of the Muskegon Innovation Hub, poses for a photo outside the center.
Kevin Ricco, director of the Muskegon Innovation Hub, poses for a photo outside the center. A $1.7 million grant provided by the state will help the Hub's programming for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts
Small business owners work on their business plan at the Muskegon Innovation Hub.
A $1.7 million grant from the state will help enhance programming and coaching opportunities for small business owners at the Muskegon Innovation Hub.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

Ricco said he sees the Hub providing more programming opportunities for entrepreneurs in rural communities and minority-owned businesses as a result of the grant.

 “The beauty of this particular grant program was that it was not ultra-restrictive,” he said. “This is actually industry agnostic. We can provide assistance to the service sector, food businesses and product-related entrepreneurs.” 

Funding for the program comes from a one-time appropriation using American Rescue Plan Act dollars to create and operate programs to support small businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of Michigan’s economy, and this investment to support their growth from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will build on Michigan’s economic momentum,” Whitmer said. 

“These 27 entrepreneurial hubs across the state will shore up our small business ecosystem, providing economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs and small businesses with the support they need to keep growing and expanding right here in Michigan.”  

According to the state, small business growth has surged with 137,000 new small business applications submitted in 2022.


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