The SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) supports high-technology entrepreneurs and businesses. The SmartZone captures increased property tax dollars and reinvests that money back into the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Grand Rapids.
Annual Activity Synopsis
Through the SmartZone we provide incubator spaces and connections to support services for high-technology startups. The Michigan Strategic Fund supports our Business Incubator Grant and we continue to use Michigan State University as our subcontractor for those services. More information about our activities is available under “Contracts” below. A full list of investments is available in the FY2021 Preliminary Financial Statements as of June 30, 2021.
The SmartZone LDFA does not have tax increment revenues which have not been expended within 5 years of their receipt. More information about tax increment financing is available in the FY2020 PA 57 Annual Report.
You can find information on the SmartZone’s meeting schedule, current board members, minutes, and past agendas at their meeting portal page.
Current Board Members
- Dante Villarreal, Chair (Term Ends: 12/31/2024)
- Joseph Jones, Treasurer (Term Ends: 12/31/2021)
- Hal Ostrow, Secretary (Term Ends: 12/31/2023)
- Keith Brophy (Term Ends: 12/31/2021)
- Jerry Callahan (Term Ends: 12/31/2023)
- Brent Case (Term Ends: 12/31/2021)
- Lisa Freiburger (Term Ends: 12/31/2023)
- Kristian Grant (Term Ends: 12/31/2021)
- Jerry Kooiman (Term Ends: 12/31/2021)
- Al Venderberg (Term Ends: 12/31/2024)
- John Helmholdt (Term Ends: 12/31/2021)
- Fred Molnar, Ex-Officio Member (No Term Expiration)
Documents and Links
Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The MEDC gives us the authority to operate the Grand Rapids SmartZone LDFA. See the full text of this contract here.
Incubation Services with Spartan Innovations and Start Garden, Inc.
We partner with Start Garden and Spartan Innovations to provide a variety of services to high-tech entrepreneurs and businesses, including incubation, ecosystem development, 5x5 Night, and The 100.
Holland SmartZone LDFA - Satellite District
We partner with the Holland SmartZone LDFA and Lakeshore Advantage on regional initiatives.
We partnered with WMCAT and Confluence Festival to support the Confluence Innovation Showcase.
We partner with the MSU Foundation to support the Conquer Accelerator.
Michigan State University
We partner with Michigan State University to provide gateway services, including the Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) program, under a grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund.
Michigan House Creative
We partner with Michigan House to help market the Grand Rapids entrepreneurial ecosystem at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference.