GRAND RAPIDS –– Partners in West Michigan’s startup ecosystem continue to explore how best to allocate resources to the region’s entrepreneurs.
HOLLAND — Faced with a shortage of housing for people at various income levels, community leaders in Michigan’s fastest-growing county are exploring new ways to develop residential units.
The number of venture capital-backed startup companies based in West Michigan grew 20 percent over the last three years.
COOPERSVILLE — A glut in raw milk production throughout the state is driving substantial agribusiness growth in West Michigan as area processing companies struggle to keep up.
Like many economic development leaders, Jennifer Owens of Lakeshore Advantage says talent concerns remain a key issue for businesses in 2017. Aside from attracting outside businesses, the organization primarily will focus on training, recruiting and retaining talent next year, she said. To do that, Lakeshore Advantage is pushing a campaign that promotes the region’s leisure opportunities as a way to attract workers. Owens told MiBiz to expect accelerated growth from manufacturers of automation equipment in the coming year and said she’s also “very bullish” on the food processing sector.
Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Sept. 6, 2016:
• M&A: Lansing-based Eckhart Inc., a portfolio company of private equity firm LFM Capital of Nashville, Tenn., acquired Auto Craft Tool & Die Inc. and 3 D Sales Inc., both of Algonac, Mich., in a deal to add more controls, robotics, and automation-based solutions and distribution capabilities. Auto Craft operates facilities in Marine City, where it makes material handling systems and specialized tooling for industrial manufacturers. The company manufactures door and instrument panel carriers and automatic guided carts. The related 3 D Sales business distributes industrial ergonomic and work cell components. The deal, the terms for which were not disclosed, was the first for Eckhart, a manufacturer of ergonomic assembly line equipment that last year joined the LFM Capital portfolio. The Nashville-based private equity firm focuses on lower middle-market manufacturers and industrial services providers with enterprise values in the $15 million to $75 million range.
Koops Inc., a manufacturer of custom automation equipment, plans to invest $4.9 million into a new 40,000-square-foot facility adjacent to its headquarters in Holland.