Start Garden launches entrepreneur-in-residence program

Published on February 01, 2022

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Start Garden has launched an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) program to support tech startups in the Grand Rapids community. The city of Grand Rapids SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) in September 2021 selected Start Garden and Spartan Innovations through a request for proposal process to manage its SmartZone Incubator and tech business support services. Start Garden began its entrepreneur-in-residence program in December to support developing tech companies in the Grand Rapids community. Darren Riley, a 29-year-old information systems graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, was selected as the first EIR for Start Garden. Riley is the founder and CEO of the Grand Rapids-based air quality tech startup JustAir, co-founder of the national angel fund for founders of color called Commune Angels, and former manager for entrepreneur selection and growth at Endeavor Detroit, a branch of a national entrepreneurial support organization. He is contracted for 18 months as a 1099 employee of Start Garden and will be developing and supporting a portfolio of tech startups associated with the Grand Rapids SmartZone.

Read more about Darren Riley and the Start Garden entrepreneur-in-residence program in this article by the Grand Rapids Business Journal.