Bravo! Arts Academy (pictured) in Marshall, MI received a Restart grant

428 Small Businesses, Nonprofits Receive Restart Grants

In collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and regional partners, Lakeshore Advantage awarded $3.325 million to 428 small businesses and nonprofits in Allegan and Ottawa counties through the Michigan Small Business Restart grant program. Sixty-eight percent of small business grantees were women, minority or veteran-owned businesses. Read more

Director of Entrepreneurship Elected to National Board

Amanda Chocko, Director of Entrepreneurship at Lakeshore Advantage, has been elected to the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) Board of Directors for a three-year term. The InBIA is a global non-profit with over 1,200 members that leads entrepreneurship support organizations in 30 countries. Read more
The Lakeshore Advantage team serves primary employers in Allegan and Ottawa counties. Primary employers are businesses that contribute to our region's Gross Domestic Product. Our team has tripled our efforts helping small businesses navigate through the first 100 days of the pandemic and onto recovery. A few role shifts to serve primary employers better: 
  • Amanda Murray, Vice President of Business Solutions, is leading on business attraction and expansion as well as commercial/industrial real estate relationships. 
  • Greg King, Business Solutions Manager, is leading on all employer retention efforts. 
  • Mandy Cooper is the Director of Strategic Initiatives, and is meeting with local units of government officials and strategic partners to support business growth

CLICK HERE to learn more about Lakeshore Advantage, our core values, who we serve and to access our team contact list. 

Investor Spotlight

Creative Dining Services

Creative Dining President & CEO Jim Eickhoff serves up insight on leadership, sales strategy and employees as family. 

900 Grants, $18m for Rural Communities

Small businesses in rural communities (defined as 50,000 residents or fewer) are encouraged to apply for the Rural Relief Small Business Grant program funded by Lowe's through the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC). Applications are open through October 5. Learn more and apply   

Recent Bright Spots and News of Note

Celebrating what makes West Michigan a great place to live, work, learn, grow and start a business. 
Positive Impact 
Tyson Foods in Zeeland purchased 60 backpacks filled with supplies for team members. 
Stewardship fits with DISHER's mission to make a positive difference. Read about some of their team's recent projects. 
Gentex engineer teaches local students STEM principles in a greenhouse. Contact was made through Gentex's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.  

Good to Know

This Haworth blog explains how your EX will help your company be more innovative and profitable. 
Auto industry is roaring back and so is Gentex. The company is holding a job fair October 1-2, hiring hourly production workers for 2nd and 3rd shifts. 
Warner, Norcross + Judd released their Diversity, Equity + Inclusion in Action Annual Report
Varnum shared a PPP loan forgiveness update regarding owners and non-payroll costs. 
Futures for Frontliners offers tuition-free pathways for essential workers who worked at least part time between April-June 2020. Learn more at
Local Presence, Big Recognition
 Zeeland's Clean Water Plant receives worldwide recognition for commitment to sustainability.
Lakeshore Advantage investor support positively impacts the region's economic health.  Contact Beth Blanton at to learn more. 
This news and events update was sent to you as a service of Lakeshore Advantage. We send communications on a regular basis to keep you up-to-date on information that may be helpful to you as a West Michigan primary employer. Please direct questions, comments and future submissions to Emily Staley at

West Michigan's Business Advantage
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