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.

 

KEDA's February 12, 2014 Member Meeting - Presentation by Dr. Joshua Pearce on the Use of 3-D Printers to Make Products for Industry and Home 

Wednesday, February 12th, 7:30 am, Finnish-American Heritage Center, Hancock                                                                                                 

3-D printing technology has advanced considerably and become much more affordable over the past few years, and MTU Professor Dr. Joshua Pearce has been at the forefront of these developments.  He will discuss the use of 3-D printers to make both industrial and home-use products, and will show examples.

 

A hot breakfast will be available, in addition to time for member announcements and introduction of guests.

 

For more information or to sponsor a breakfast meeting, contact Dar Gronevelt, KEDA , at 906-482-6817.

 

 

Chamber-KEDA-SmartZone Annual Spark Plug Awards

February 13th at the Shelden Grill in Houghton is the date for the annual Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber-KEDA-SmartZone business celebration at which companies and individuals will receive spark plug awards.  You are invited to submit nominations thru January 31st for the following awards:

  • Growth - Significant growth in employment and/or sales during 2013
  • Quality - recognized by the community for providing top quality products or services
  • Teamwork - having a well-rounded and exceptional group of employees that provide a great experience for customers
  • Innovation - a new or existing company pursuing commercialization of an innovative product or service
  • Transformation - an existing organization making a significant change in how they conduct business or products offered
  • Person/Project of the Year - a high impact person or project notable in the community providing a lasting benefit
  • Young Professional of the Year - Under 40 years of age who has made significant strides in the community
Other than for the Person/Projkect of the Year, the nominee must be a membe of either the Chamber or KEDA.
 
To nominate or to register for the event, go to the Chamber web site at www.Keweenaw.org and click on Spark Plug Awards!

 

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 has set 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 main production facility and has constructed a second building to be used as a warehouse, and is now awaiting the arrival of containers of production equipment being shipped from Europe which will be installed by a team of technicians from Poland.  Production is projected to begin in January or February.  Hiring will begin in January.

 

  

Upcoming MIOSHA Health & Safety Workshops


2014

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 pmusser@kedabiz.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.
For more information, contact Phil at 906-482-6817 or pmusser@kedabiz.com.  
 
 

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 bburns@mtu.edu.  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 hiring of Scott Teigen as CEO of GreenForces.  Scott is housed in the Powerhouse incubator and is working with local companies, Lockheed Martin, KEDA, the SmartZone, Houghton County, Michigan Tech to implement the project to market local business capabilities to the aerospace industry.  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 www.greenforcesllc.com.

 

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 pmusser@kedabiz.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 etolsdorf@charter.net 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 dmakowski@jobforce.org.  The next procurement workshop is:

For a complete listing of PTAC seminars, go to www.nwm.org/ptac.asp.  For more information on federal contracting, contact Don Makowski at 906-789-0558 or at dmakowski@jobforce.org

 

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.