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Economic Development

Twelve Native American tribes in Michigan received $14.8 million in Indian Housing Block Grant funds for affordable housing projects, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday. 

GRAND RAPIDS — When indoor dining was prohibited across the state last year and earlier this year because of COVID-19, Davide Uccello turned to the cannabis industry as a sector that managed to be successful despite lockdown orders. 

A growing number of business executives anticipate higher employment and capital investments over the next six to 12 months as post-pandemic economic outlooks are increasingly optimistic, according to a recent survey by Business Leaders for Michigan.

KALAMAZOO — Former GOP House Speaker Lee Chatfield has resigned as CEO of Southwest Michigan First, a week after his appointment generated controversy among local officials and some in the local business community.

Reports of a new NBA affiliation for the Grand Rapids Drive emerged on Thursday, weeks after the minor league franchise announced that a new partnership might be imminent.

KALAMAZOO — The Kalamazoo Community Foundation has dropped its membership with Southwest Michigan First effective immediately as backlash continues over the economic development organization’s hiring of former GOP House Speaker Lee Chatfield as its CEO.

International food and beverage conglomerate Nestlé SA has reached an agreement to sell its regional spring water brands, purified water business and beverage delivery service in the United States and Canada, a move that will affect its West Michigan operations.

West Michigan experienced a 54.5-percent drop in sports events during the pandemic last year, which led to a 76.1-percent decrease in visitor spending compared to a banner 2019, according to a new report.

State officials announced today that nearly 6,000 Michigan businesses have received grant funding totaling $52.5 million under a COVID-19 relief program signed into law late last year.

Internet gaming and sports betting operators in Michigan reported $42.7 million in gross revenue for the 10-day period after Jan. 22 when several platforms went live.

KALAMAZOO — LGBTQ advocates say Southwest Michigan First should support expanding Michigan’s civil rights law following backlash to the appointment of its new CEO, former House Speaker Lee Chatfield.

KALAMAZOO — The Kalamazoo City Commission unanimously voted to withdraw $10,000 in annual funding for Southwest Michigan First on the same day former GOP House Speaker Lee Chatfield started as the economic development organization’s CEO.

GRAND RAPIDS — MiBiz Inc. and WOOD-TV8 launched a new media partnership that includes sharing breaking news between the two outlets and a weekly roundup of business news during the station’s Monday morning “Daybreak” program.

The MiBiz M&A Deals & Dealmakers Awards are back for their 8th installment to highlight best practices and excellence in what can only be described as one of the most atypical deal environments of all time.

The seeds for the joint purchase of the iconic McKay Tower building in downtown Grand Rapids took root years ago when the CEOs at Waséyabek Development Co. LLC and Gun Lake Investments started talking about doing deals together. 

Despite its wide footprint throughout a tri-state area, Zeigler Automotive Group still found itself lacking a few of the big name luxury brands in its portfolio.

Grand Rapids City Commissioner Joe Jones recently stepped down from his full-time job as CEO of the Urban League of West Michigan to launch a consulting firm focused on diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and other social justice advocacy. Jones launched The Hekima Group LLC (named after the Swahili word for wisdom) after a decade at the Urban League where he worked closely on the ongoing inequities for people of color in West Michigan. Jones said he felt a calling to launch the consultancy following the nationwide protests after the killing of George Floyd, the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate harm to communities of color, and his own personal brush with the virus in October. Jones spoke with MiBiz to discuss his new venture and recent City Commission business.

GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan capital investment fund that involves the family office for Doug and Maria DeVos wants to make long-term investments across a variety of industries with a goal of preserving and growing local companies and jobs.

Local economic development leaders have long sought to bring a global headquarters to downtown Grand Rapids, and it will soon become a reality as  Perrigo Co. plc moves its North American corporate offices to the Medical Mile.

KALAMAZOO — Former Republican Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield has been named CEO of Southwest Michigan First, the economic development agency announced Thursday.

Two statewide advocacy groups representing municipalities support Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest proposed budget that includes spending to cover income tax revenue gaps, increased revenue sharing and infrastructure investments.

West Michigan’s industrial economy began 2021 “on a very positive note” as key activity indexes all improved.

GRAND RAPIDS — Acrisure LLC has formed a joint venture with NFL quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Ciara to support increased access to insurance by minority-owned businesses in the U.S.

COMSTOCK PARK — West Michigan’s largest outdoor entertainment venue is changing names following a new partnership announced today.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for February 1, 2021.

GRAND RAPIDS — Service Express LLC, a Grand Rapids-based firm that provides third-party data center maintenance services, has announced its first international acquisition.

GRAND HAVEN — The West Michigan lakeshore town is experiencing a boom in economic development interest as three key properties around the city’s core are eyed for new projects.

Employees at Trendway Corp. have a reason to be skeptical about suspicious emails that show up in their inboxes.

Through working with a number of banks and credit unions, Randy Brinks is fully aware of the giant target that the financial services industry has had for years concerning cybersecurity threats.

West Michigan economic development organizations are in a transition period — much like the industry itself during the COVID-19 pandemic — as multiple agencies take on new leadership.

Michigan cannabis businesses have overwhelmingly white ownership despite the state’s 2018 voter-approved marijuana law encouraging participation by people who have been “disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.”

Ottawa County expects to have a better understanding later this year of exactly where gaps exist locally for broadband internet service so it can begin to address the issue.

Within hours of his inauguration on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden signed executive orders seeking to bolster the country’s COVID-19 response and issued a memo to top federal officials to “preserve and fortify” a key immigration policy for certain undocumented immigrants.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican lawmakers are squaring off over multi-billion-dollar COVID-19 spending plans that would bolster a vaccine rollout, K-12 schools preparedness and crucial business support.

GRAND RAPIDS — Six West Michigan corporations earned top scores in this year’s Corporate Equality Index rankings recently published by the Human Rights Campaign, showcasing the companies as among the best places to work for LGBTQ equality.

Statewide business groups announced their support today for House Republicans’ COVID-19 spending plan that’s a rebuttal to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s $5.6 billion plan unveiled last week.

DOWAGIAC — Seven Generations Group, a professional services portfolio of companies, is rebranding and has also managed to grow its portfolio with the formation of Blue Star Integrative Studio, a full-service architecture firm based in Tulsa, Okla., and the spin off of Kalamazoo-based Steelhead Engineering Co. 

LANSING — The director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services abruptly resigned today.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that restaurants and bars can resume indoor service on Feb. 1 with a 25 percent capacity limit and 10 p.m. curfew.

Online sports betting and casino gaming will go live statewide beginning on Friday at noon.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has unveiled a $5.6 billion pandemic recovery spending plan that primarily uses federal funding to help control the spread of COVID-19, which state officials and economists say is crucial to ensure broader economic recovery.

GRAND RAPIDS — Feyen Zylstra LLC, a Grand Rapids-based electrical services and industrial technology firm, has expanded its footprint into North Carolina following a recent acquisition.

Here is the MiBiz growth report for January 18, 2021.

KALAMAZOO — A new funding tool recently signed into law is intended to help finance an event center in downtown Kalamazoo, but it’s unclear if there is a desire or solid plans to move forward with the venue.

The next 10 months will culminate in a landmark year for Michigan politically as new legislative district boundaries are drawn by an independent commission tasked with quashing partisan gerrymandering.

After ping-ponging around the globe in various professional roles, Jane Ghosh finally ended up back in Kalamazoo, where her new job involves promoting the city she calls home. In December, Ghosh was named the new president and CEO of Discover Kalamazoo, which promotes tourism to Kalamazoo County. With an economics degree from Harvard University, Ghosh has marketing experience with titans like Johnson & Johnson and Kellogg Company. She will apply that experience to help raise the profile of Kalamazoo in a time when dining, entertainment and many other forms of hospitality have slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOWAGIAC — The CEO since the founding of Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming economic development and investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, is resigning his post to take a role at a similar tribal organization in Washington.

Michigan’s economy that has already rebounded well from the depths of the spring dive should take another year or more before returning to “solid ground.”