Keweenaw Economic
Development Alliance
600 E. Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
906-482-6817 Phone
906-482-3203 Fax

Photo: Working at computer.
Photo: Working at desk in laboratory.

Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance

The Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) takes a leadership role in Houghton, Keweenaw and Baraga Counties--helping to expand and diversify the area's economic base in order to create family sustaining employment and to increase the economic well-being of the Keweenaw Peninsula region.

KEDA designs and implements proactive, sustainable programs that are focused on retaining and expanding existing firms, starting up new businesses, attracting entrepreneurs and companies to the Keweenaw and initiating projects that create the conditions for future economic growth.


Member Meetings

Fall is now upon us and so are our member meetings. Our next member meeting will be on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 7:30 a.m. at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.


The 2014-2015 meeting schedule to date:


September 10 - Regional Economic Development Team - Orrin Bailey, Michigan Works!; Lois Ellis, Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Donna LaCourt, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; Denise Hansen, Small Business Developoment Center; Don Makowski, Procurement & Technical Assistance Center. Sponsored by Michigan Works!


October 8 - MTU Advanced Technology and Development Center Update with Jim Baker, Executive Director, MTU Innovation and Industry Engagement. Sponsored by Peninsula Powder Coating


November 12 - Regional Prosperity Initiative with Kim Stoker, Executive Director of the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region. Sponsored by WUPPDR


December 10 - KEDA Annual Meeting, Annual Report from Executive Director, Scholarship Silent Auction, and Board Election. Sponsored by the Michigan Tech Advanced Technology Development Center


January 14 - Higher Education Panel: Pres. Glen Mroz, MTU, Pres. Philip Johnson, Finlandia University, & Pres. Jim Lorenson, Gogebic Community College for a discussion on higher education's role in economic development in the Keweenaw. Sponsored by Blue Terra Energy, LLC


February 11 - Keweenaw Research Center with Jay Meldrum, Executive Director, to discuss the KRC's alternative energy work. Sponsored by UP Health System - Portage.


March 11 - KEDA Strategic Planning SWOT Input Review and Prioritizing. Sponsored by Superior National Bank


April 8 - Creating New Value Through Strategic Innovation with Bob Niemiec, Managing Director of Twisthink . Sponsored by MTEC SmartZone


May 11 - Career & Technical Education Panel and KEDA Skilled Trades Scholarship Awards. Panelist are: George Twardzik, Calumet High School Principal, Martin Meleen, L'Anse Career & Technical Education Coordinator, Tim Keteri, Adams Township Public Schools Superintendent, and George Stockero, Copper Country ISD Superintendent. Sponsored by Koppers.


June 8 - Air Service in the Keweenaw. A panel discussion with Matthew Brinker, Air Service Project Manager, Michigan Department of Transporation Bureau of Aeronautics; Dennis Hext, Aiorport Manager, Houghton County Memorial Airport; and Kiersten Waara, President, Superior Travel, Inc. Sponsored by the Houghton County Memorial Airport and SkyWest Airlines


All meetings will be held at the Finnish American Heritiage Center in Hancock unless otherwise noted.


For more information on how to become a member of KEDA and support economic development in the Keweenaw, please contact Jeff Ratcliffe at 906-482-6817 or


Upcoming MIOSHA Health & Safety Workshops



January 27, 2015, Part 85-Control of Hazardous Energy Sources (1 day)


February 18, 2015, Masonry Wall Bracing (8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)


February 18, 2015, Electricity: The Invisible Killer (12:00 - 3:30 p.m.)


March 10, 2015, Part 7-Guards for Power Transmission (8:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)


May 5-7, 2015, MIOSHA General Industry Ten Hour+ (3 days)


May 19-20, 2015, MIOSHA/OSHA Ten Hour (2 days)


June 23, 2015, Parts 90 and 490-Permit Required Confined Spaces (1 day)


December 10, 2015, Continuous Safety and Health Improvement (8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)




January 13, 2016, When MIOSHA Enforcement Visits (1 day)


March 15-16, 2016, OSHA/MIOSHA 10 Hour Construction (2 days)


April 5, 2016, Part 45: Fall Protection (1 day)



All workshops are held at the Lakeshore Center community room, 600 Lakeshore Drive, Houghton.  To register or for more information, contact Jeff Ratcliffe at 906-482-6817 or



Interested in Exporting?

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce have teamed up to assist small businesses to begin to export their products and services.  KEDA recently met with MEDC and DOC officials and was advised that they will assist local companies with:

  • identifying target countries and distributors for our products and services.  For example, China is a prime market for selling consumer products through a Chinese web site.  MEDC employee WeiWei Lu can help you.  Other countries such as Chile, Columbia, and Peru are needing mining engineering and equipment.
  • trade missions and trade shows.  USDOC employees will work with in-country Commercial Attache's to identify and arrange meetings just for your company
  • Help with Financing of: translations of marketing materials, attending trade shows, travel and hotel costs through the MEDC STEP program.  STEP can cover up to 50% of these costs.  For example, a trade mission to China would cost only $5,900 plus airfare, and STEP would cover 50% of the $5,900.
For more information, contact Jeff Ratcliffe at 906-482-6817 or  

Funding Opportunity: Small Company Innovation Program Grants

The Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) has announces Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP) grants to help small Michigan companies cover the cost of university research.  These grants support the commercialization of a product or service by providing matching funds to make university research affordable.  Michigan Tech and other Michigan universities are members of this network.  Contact Brent Burns, MTU's Director of Corporate Partnerships, for more information at 906-487-3674 or  SCIP's next application deadline in November 1. 2012.  More details will be announced soon at 


Project:  Greenforces Project Update 

This unique project that joins the collaborative strengths of engineering, materials, and manufacturing companies from Michigan's Upper Peninsula is designed to market local business capabilities to the aerospace and other targeted industries.  Local companies will benefit through contracts to design, prototype and test materials and components for both U.S. military aircraft and ground vehicles.  See the Greenforces website at


Small Business Loans 

KEDA operates a $275,000 small business revolving loan fund (RLF) to provide working capital and to help businesses purchase machinery and equipment for projects in Baraga, Keweenaw, and Houghton Counites.  Loans can be from $5,000 to $100,000 and are based on the borrower's ability to create new jobs for Keweenaw residents.  Personal guarantees are required.  KEDA's RLF can partner with local banks, the Houghton County RLF, SmartZone RLF, and Northern Initiatives to provide appropriate financing.  For more information, click on the Financial Assistance button in the upper left corner of this page.


New State of Michigan Programs for Small Businesses

Develop Michigan Inc - a $20 million, nonprofit public-private partnership designed to provide financing tools for large and complex community redevelopment projects.

Grow Michigan LLC - a public-private partnership designed to fil capital gaps for small and medium-sized, job-creating businesses.  Its aim is to help companies to finance growth and assist in transitioning ownership.

Pure Michigan Business Connect business-to-business network, a Web-based system that helps companies find collaborators, suppliers and new business opportunities.  The network will include a directory of Michigan businesses and an online procurement marketplace.

State Trade Export Program (STEP) - This program provides financial assistance to Michigan companies with fewer than 500 employees for export-related activities.

Export Now - an online platform for consumer-product companies in Michigan to sell their products directly to Chinese consumers.

Instant Innovation Program - A facilitated brainstorming session arranged by the Michigan Corporate Relations Network to bring together technical experts from Michigan universities to provide solutions to a company's technical challenges.

Contact Jeff Ratcliffe, KEDA, at 906-482-6817 or for more information. 


Federal Procurement Represents a Huge Potential Market for Local Companies

Federal procurement represents a huge potential market for local company products.  Some Keweenaw companies have had success in selling their goods and services to federal agencies, including the U.S. military, but many local companies have not yet entered this market due to the difficulty and complexity of the process and to the lack of personnel to devote to procurement.  There is now help!  KEDA has several resource that can work with your business to:

  • Determine if state or federal government are buying your products and services
  • Register with those state and federal agencies procuring your goods and services
  • Monitor daily solicitations and notifying you of possible bids
  • Interpret solicitation documents
  • Help to submit bids, quotes and proposals
  • Set up payment procedures, and
  • Conduct market research to identify non-government markets, potential customers and competitors

You are encouraged to attend government procurement workshops sponsored by the Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) serving the Upper Peninsula, and to arrnange a visit by the UP PTAC representative, Don Makowski.  Contact Don at 906-789-0558 x 244 or via e-mail at  The next procurement workshop is:

For a complete listing of PTAC seminars, go to  For more information on federal contracting, contact Don Makowski at 906-789-0558 or at


News: USDA Announces Renewable Energy Grants and Loans for Small Rural Businesses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently announced the availability of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency grants and guaranteed loans for small business in rural areas.  The grants and loans can be used to conduct energy audits, feasibility studies and to purchase energy efficient equipment or construct energy efficient facilities.  For more information, go to and click on Farm Bill 9006 resources.  Or, contact KEDA for a summary sheet describing eligibility and types of projects.


News: Long-Term, Fixed Asset Financing Available Through SBA 504 Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers up to 40% of project costs at below market rates for fixed assets (real estate, buildings, equipment).  Total project costs must be at least $200,000 up to $10 million, and the borrower must be a small business with a net worth less than $7.5 million and average net profit less than$2.5 million for the past two years.  The Michigan Certified Development Corporation packages these funds in the form of debentures that are sold in the market place.  A bank loans 50% of project costs and the borrower provides 10% equity which does not necessarily need be cash.  The 504 funds are provided at a fixed rate for 20 years for real estate and 10 years for equipment.  Read a longer description of this financing program by clicking on "finmechs" in the pull down menu in the upper left corner of this page, then scroll down to "Federal Financial Assistance."  Contact Darlene Merritt, Michigan Certified Development Corporation, 231-878-1302 or for more information.