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Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez

Senior Writer

msanchez@mibiz.com

GRAND RAPIDS — Middle-market companies across the Midwest expect smaller sales and employment gains in 2017 than their counterparts nationally, a sign that regional business growth is possibly peaking.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Central Michigan University may launch a new graduate program later this year that would add to entrepreneurial education in the state. 

ADetroit-based nonprofit will manage a new statewide fund created to provide needed early-stage capital to startups in Michigan.

HOLLAND — A $555,000 investment gives a Holland-based sports-related mobile application developer the seed capital it needs to pursue additional clients and grow the business.

The first time Jason Mejeur pitched to a prospective venture capital investor, armed with his “crappy” PowerPoint presentation to explain his concept, he failed to secure any money.

Sunday, 25 December 2016 17:20

2017 Outlook: John Irwin, Huntington Bank

Huntington National Bank’s West Michigan president, John Irwin, sees more certainty and confidence in the marketplace following the November presidential election. He expects West Michigan’s economy to continue rolling along in 2017. According to Irwin, among business leaders he speaks with, “everyone’s hopeful about the future and what’s going to happen here with this administration” of President-elect Donald Trump and the potential for lower business taxes. They’re also bullish on the prospects to roll back federal regulations on business. Irwin also doubts that higher interest rates will alter the course of the economy.

United Bank of Michigan President and CEO Michael Manica believes the economy was already on track for a good year in 2017. But the election of Donald Trump as president and his pro-business policies should boost the U.S. and the West Michigan economies higher, Manica said. A slow-growth economy that continues “without any signs to become considerably more vibrant” would surprise Manica in 2017. The Grand Rapids-based United Bank has 12 offices in West Michigan — six in Kent County, four in Allegan County and one each in Ionia County and Ottawa County, where a Jenison branch opened earlier this year. The bank had total assets of $596.2 million as of Sept. 30, up 15.8 percent from a year earlier, and deposits totaling $444.4 million, a 10-percent increase.

Kelly Potes took over in June as CEO at ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc., the parent company of ChoiceOne Bank, adding to his duties as president. During 2016, ChoiceOne Bank opened a lending office in downtown Grand Rapids and may follow up in the future with a full-service branch. The Sparta-based ChoiceOne has 12 offices in rural Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Newaygo counties with total assets of $598.6 million as of Sept. 30. 

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