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.
KEDA Executive Director Announces Retirement
Phil Musser, KEDA Executive Director for over 25 years, has announced his retirement at the end of December, 2013. When he began as Executive Director in 1985, the Keweenaw economy had been going through a tough time due to the cessation of copper mining in 1969 and the subsequent economic decline, including the loss of most of the manufacturing sector. Community leaders formed KEDA in 1969 to take the lead in creating a new economic base. KEDA's challange was to build up the manufacturing, service and technology sectors by building a business assistance support system that could provide customized assistance to entrepreneurs starting up new businesses, to existing companies with expansion potential and to outside companies interested in relocating to the Keweenaw. KEDA also created four small business revolving loan funds that have been instrumental in providing critical capital to start-up and early stage companies.
"I have truly enjoyed working with the entrepreneurs and companies that have made the Keweenaw a great place to do business" stated Musser. "I believe the Keweenaw region has great potential for continued growth, and that KEDA will continue to take a leading role in that growth. I must thank all the KEDA members who have supported economic development over the years and who have always been optomistic about and committed to the region's economic growth. I am also appreciative of the truly talented Board members who have served on the KEDA Board over the years. And, I am very pleased that DA Glass America has choosen the Keweenaw in which to locate their U.S.-based production facility that will employ over 200 local workers, purchase local goods and services and inject millions of dollars into the local economy."
KEDA Recruiting New Executive Director
KEDA is continuing to accept applications for a full-time Executive Director to provide business start-up, expansion and attraction activities in Michigan's Western Upper Peninsula. Position requires a BA or higher degree in a related field, and at least 3 years of business development experience. Send cover letter, resume and salary history to KEDA, Recruitment Committee, 600 E. Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, MI 49931 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for a position description.
KEDA's November 13th, 2013 Member Meeting - Update on DA Glass America project, Update on Executive Director Recruitment, and Presentation on Expanding Geothermal Energy Use in the Keweenaw
Wednesday, November 13th, 7:30 am, Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock
The November member meeting will feature three presentations of interest to the KEDA membership:
- Update on Recruitment of a new Executive Director by Jim Baker, KEDA President
- Update on DA Glass America's manufacturing facility at the Houghton County Airpark, by Steve Williams
- Presentation on the expansion of Geothermal Energy Use in the Keweenaw, by Sam Lockwood, Keweenaw Geothermal Research Group LLC, and by Jay Meldrum, Keweenaw Research Center.
A hot breakfast will be available, in addition to time for member announcements and introduction of guests.
For more information, contact Phil Musser, KEDA Executive Director, at 906-482-6817 or email@example.com.
DA Glass America Hiring and Production to Begin Soon
DA Glass of Poland and Iowa Illinois Warehouse Services, an Illinois-based company, have formed a US affiliate, DA Glass America, which is setting up shop in the Houghton County Airpark in the former C-Tech building. The company, headed up by Steve Williams, will be treating plate glass to enhance its solar characteristics for use in large greenhouses, office buildings and other applications. The company has received a $2 million matching loan from the State of Michigan as part of the $10 million project.
KEDA has been working to attract the company to the Keweenaw since October, 2012, competing with Iowa, Missouri and Illinois, and announced that the company had choosen the Keweenaw at its April member meeting. KEDA has also recently provided the company with a $100,000 short term, working capital loan to allow the company to more quickly become established in the Airpark.
The company has committed to creating 102 new manufacturing jobs in the community as part of the Michigan loan, but recently told KEDA members at its April 10th member meeting that it expected to create 200 or more jobs in Houghton County within the next few years. Annual local payroll at that point would be upwards of $7 million in addition to the purchase of local goods and services. Those expenditures would, in turn, create another 90 jobs in the community, significantly impacting virtually all aspects of the Keweenaw regional economy!
Most recently, the company has completed renovation of their building in the Houghton County Airpark, and is now awaiting production equipment being shipped from Europe which will be installed by a team of technicians from Poland. Production is projected to begin in November. Hiring will begin in September and October.
Seminar: Presentation by NextEnergy: Funding Opportunities for Energy Related Research and Commercialization
11:00 am to 1 p.m., Monday, September 30, 2013, Michigan Tech's Advanced Technology Development Complex, Sharon Avenue and Garnet St.
NextEnergy representatives will discuss funding opportunities and support services available to researchers working in energy related fields and to companies commercializing energy-related products. NextEnergy is a nonprofit organization supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and numerous public and private sector partners. It is focused on driving advanced energy investment and job creation in Michigan and serves a a catalyst for advanced energy technology demonstration and commercialization.
Contact Beth Hoy at firstname.lastname@example.org to rsvp. Seating is limited.
Seminar: Federal Acquisition Regulations - Understanding the Basics
Thursday, September 26, 2013, 1:00 - 4:30 p.m., Gogebic Community College, Solin Center for Business Education, Room B-109, E-4946 Jackson Rd., Ironwood, MI
This free seminar will cover the following Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) topics:
- What is the FAR?
- Where do I find the FAR?
- How do I look up and interpret a FAR clause?
- What are some scenerios where the FAR will come into play?
- How do FAR clauses apply to government solicitations?
Lunch & Learn: Navigating Michigan's Maze of Commercialization Resources
Tuesday, October 8th, Noon - 1 pm, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), 1402 E. Sharon Avenue, Houghton
This free noontime semnar will discuss various state programs designed to help connect technology companies with the financial and other resources they need.
Seminar: SBIR/STTR Basics & Proposal Prep Overview + Michigan Commercialization Resources
Tuesday, October 8th. Morning Session: 8:30 - 11:30 am, ATDC ($50 cost); Afternoon Session: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m., ATDC (Cost is $50)
The Morning session - Introduction to SBIR and STTR - will discuss both programs, the eleven participating Federal agencies, and how to register'
The Afternoon session - Preparing to Write your SBIR/STTR Proposal - will discuss picking the right Federal agency for your proposal, and doing your homework.
To register, go to https://bbctraining10813.eventbrite.com
Seminar: Selling to the State of Michigan Video Conference
Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., 1st Floor Conference Room, Lakeshore Center, 600 E. Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, MI 49931
This free videoconference co-sponsored by KEDA will include presentations by representatives from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget who will discuss:
- How to register as a vendor
- Wehre to find contracting opportunities
- Free resources for research and bid preparation
- Expectations of state bid proposals, and
- How bids are evaluated and approved
Upcoming MIOSHA Health & Safety Workshops
October 15th - Asbestos & Lead Awareness (1/2 Day)
October 16-17 - Construction 10-Hour (2 days)
February 18th - Excavations: The Grave Danger (1 day)
March 25th - Parts 2,3 & 4 Floors, Stairways, Fixed and Portable Ladders (1 day)
April 23rd - Part 10 Lifting and Digging (1 day)
May 1st - Part 13: Mobile Equipment and Work Zone Safety (1 day)
May 20th and 21st - Parts 17, 39 and 40: Electrical Standards for General Industry and Construction (2 days)
September 23rd - Part 90: Premit Required Confined Space (1 day)
All workshops are held at the Lakeshore Center community room, 600 Lakeshore Drive, Houghton. To register or for more information, contact Phil Musser at 906-482-6817 or email@example.com.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. SCIP's next application deadline in November 1. 2012. More details will be announced soon at www.michiganccrn.com/scip.
Project: Greenforces Project Update
This local project has just kicked into high gear with the committment of Lockheed Martin and a number of local companies to cooperate to develop green materials and components for the U.S. military forces. When Greenforces becomes operational later this year, a number of local companies will benefit through contracts to design, prototype and test materials and components for both U.. military aircraft and ground vehicles. KEDA, the SmartZone, Houghton County, WUPPDR and Michigan Tech are leading the effort to design and implement GreenForces.
In a related development, GS Engineering has just been selected as the Track Technology Integrator for one of the Ground Combat Vehicles (GVC). The GVC is the U.S. Army's replacement program for armored fighting vehicles of the future. This award compliments the GreenForces Initiative that GS Engineering is heavily involved with by supporting Upper Peninsula business growth through direct defense related activities.
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. 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 and with the Houghton County RLF and the SmartZone RLF to provide loans. 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 Phil Musser, KEDA, at 906-482-6817 or email@example.com 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 is providing Elizabeth Tolsdorf, who has expertise in federal procurement, with the resources to start up a consulting business, Superior Research Services, 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
Elizabeth can work with your business on an hourly, per job or retainer basis. To explore the possibility of getting into government procurement, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 906-337-0365. SRS is a KEDA-affiliated company; KEDA members receive a discount.
You are also 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 email@example.com. The next procurement workshop is:
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 www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs 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 Phil Musser for more information.