SmartZone LDFA Partnership Report

Published on January 14, 2022


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- The SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) supports high-technology entrepreneurs and businesses. At its recent January board meeting, great results were reported by its incubator partners, Spartan Innovations and Start Garden. 

In March 2021, the SmartZone LDFA released an Incubator Operation Request for Proposal. Spartan Innovations and Start Garden were selected   to collaborate on implementing the projects and objectives of the SmartZone LDFA incubator program.

This partnership has proven to be very successful, and the program is expected to improve the momentum for Grand Rapids' economic development and startup ecosystem in 2022.

According to the Q1 results Spartan Innovations and Start Garden have achieved tremendous results in the first quarter of their partnership with the SmartZone LDFA. The partnership has yielded 114 engagements with high tech/high growth companies, with 69 unique companies served and 55 engagements with underrepresented companies with 35 unique, underrepresented companies served. Overall, $1.1 million in new funds was raised and new venture investments totaled  $670,000.

The City of Grand Rapids, through its Economic Development Department and SmartZone LDFA Board, have a long history of supporting and growing business enterprises and improving the City's economy. The SmartZone seeks to promote, encourage, and advance the coordination and collaboration of new entrepreneurship in high-tech businesses. Its incubator program is dedicated to serving diverse companies with business development needs and services for high-tech, high-growth opportunities located within the City.

The City's vision and accomplishments have helped foster early-stage startups, small businesses, and SmartZone is delighted with these initial results, and the contribution it makes to the City's Equitable Economic Development and Mobility Strategic Plan.

The SmartZone anticipate more remarkable accomplishments from the partnership this year as it creates opportunities for new entrepreneurs and provides high-tech businesses with resources to thrive.

You can download the full report from Spartan Innovations and Start Garden and other information on the SmartZone LDFA here(PDF, 1MB)