The latest economic news from around the region.
Plus Core Partner Updates and videos to share!
Innovation Alliance event coming in November
We introduced the Northern Lakes Innovation Alliance (NLIA) earlier this fall and continue to gain traction. Here are a few common questions answered.

  • What is the benefit of being a part of the Northern Lakes Innovation Alliance?
The NLIA gives innovators the right support to grow with a guide to success. Gain access to a network of specialized business professionals including packaging, distribution, licensing, expansion, and human resources to name a few.

  • What is involved?
There is a registration process that includes an intake form. That gives our NLEA staff an idea of grouping similar industries together. After applying you will be contacted to set a date to present to our panel of industry professionals. Your presentation should include where your business is, where you are heading, and how you envision getting there.

  • How do I register?
Go to to submit the registration form. If you have additional questions please contact Angie Ross.

  • What if I haven't started a business yet?
The Northern Lakes Innovation Alliance is for all stages of innovation including if you have not officially launched a business yet. This is a chance to pitch your idea/solution and get support for a successful start. We encourage all stages of business to join the Innovation Alliance.

  • What happens after the event?
After the event takes place there will be additional communication and follow up to provide you resources for success. The goal of the Northern Lakes Innovation Alliance is to capture a culture of problem solving innovations. The NLIA provides a space for innovators to create, expand, collaborate, and learn with others.

Join us soon! NLEA is looking for Innovators in the Industries of Value-Added Agriculture, Tech, Outdoor Recreation, Manufacturing, Recycle/Upcycle and Research & Development. Businesses or individuals looking for support and networking opportunities to bring a concept to life and who live or work the NLEA region of Antrim, Charlevoix and Cheboygan counties are invited to register online at Registrants will be invited to join the program and schedule a date to meet and discuss their business idea.

Financial support for the Northern Lakes Innovation Alliance is provided by the DTE Foundation and Consumers Energy.
Industry 4.0 Technology Showcase [free]
Join the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center’s Industry 4.0 team as they showcase some of the most impactful technologies currently available to manufacturers. This interactive demonstration of technologies offers attendees the opportunity to speak directly with experts about how each innovation could potentially help their facility.

No cost to attend, registration is required. If you have questions or want to learn more, call 231-995-2018.
Funding to revive Cheboygan community
Cheboygan downtown
A press release from Governor Whiter and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced that Cheboygan was one community that received funding from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The funding covers two projects. One project includes rehabilitating a mixed-use development. It is expected to generate a total capital investment of $593,990 and will revitalize a long-vacant building in the heart of Cheboygan, bringing new vibrancy and increased economic activity to the downtown.

Bright Sky Consulting plans to rehabilitate a vacant building in downtown Cheboygan. When completed, the project will include retail space and one residential unit.

The second project is with the city of Cheboygan, receiving $335,980 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the Purple Tree Rental Rehab project in downtown Cheboygan. The two-story building currently houses a bookstore and Made in Michigan gift shop on the first floor, while the second floor has been vacant for more than 20 years. When completed, a total of five residential units will be added to the building, with four units on the second floor and an accessible unit on the first floor at the rear of the commercial space.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $445,297, and will transform a vacant, underutilized space into an attractive property and bring needed housing to the heart of downtown Cheboygan. The city of Cheboygan has approved an Obsolete Property Tax Abatement valued at $85,893 in support of the project.

"This project is a big win, bringing positive updates to a historic building and much needed housing to our downtown," said Main Street Downtown Development Authority Interim Director Katie Duczkowski.
Opportunity for Renewable Energy Suppliers
Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) in partnership with DTE Energy, is hosting a two-part event focused on supply chain opportunities in renewable energy. The event will provide Michigan suppliers an overview of solar, wind and electric vehicle projects, and associated capabilities DTE is seeking to fill sourcing needs. The first part of the event will be held virtually on Wednesday, November 3rd from 3:00-4:00pm. This event will prepare suppliers for the second part of the event (to be held in-person in February 2022), where one-on-one buyer-supplier meetings and networking will take place. DTE is looking for:

  • Civil construction services
  • Electrical contracting
  • Electrical engineering
  • Engineering services for wind/solar
  • Environmental services
  • Materials to support the renewable energy program
  • NERC engineering to support wind/solar
  • Professional services including fencing, landscaping and surveying
  • Storage and transportation services
  • Various manufacturing services including racking / fabrication

Any Michigan business with capabilities that may fit renewable energy projects are encouraged to participate. Registration is required and can be completed at Contact with any questions.
Regional Data Dashboard
Have you checked out the demographic data from the NLEA Regional Information Dashboard? The data presented in this dashboard offers a glimpse into the aggregated demographic, employment, industry, and wealth characteristics of Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet Counties. The dashboard helps us understand trends in areas of housing, education, income, people, business, and labor force. If you are looking for specific data, contact the NLEA

Funding for this project was provided by the DTE Energy Foundation.
Celebrating Manufacturer's Day
October 1 marked National Manufacturer's Day and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared Sept. 26 through Oct. 2 as Manufacturing Week in Michigan.

The state has more than 11,000 unique manufacturing firms, accounting for over 600,000 jobs and more than $98 billion of total output annually.

Michigan has long served as a national leader in manufacturing job creation, with those jobs significantly impacting the state’s economy. Our 3-County region is no exception.

“Michigan is home to hundreds of thousands of hardworking people who are dedicated to making our state home to countless innovative products we rely on every day,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Our storied manufacturing industry plays a critical role in the MI New Economy plan that’s focused on supporting small businesses, creating better paying jobs and investing in our communities."

Michigan's Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity (LEO) produced a video in honor of the day.
Videos you will want to share
Video, video, video! To motivate and educate. Share yours with us! If you have one or see something inspirational, send it our way. We'd love to pass it on!
U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) commemorating Manufacturing Day.
History is made as 6 military aircraft land on northern Michigan highway.
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