West Michigan is full of some of the world’s best talent. Not only do our high schools produce some of the futures great minds, but there are so many higher education institutions that are molding even more great minds. On top of that, the Medical Mile, research institutes, incubators, and more attract even more talent here to be refined and trained. In order to compete with business meccas like New York and Silicon Valley, it has to be a priority for our community to retain this talent and help it to blossom.
Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center has a new tenant. This business incubator has signed a 2-year lease with Corlnet LLC. While this would seem rather benign information, a closer look shows that MAREC’s new tenant should be the model for the future.
Corlnet LLC is a software development company that is based out of Muskegon, Michigan. It was founded by Hank Betten, a Muskegon native. When Betton hired the six employees that work for Corlnet, he made sure they too were Muskegon residents. Betten believes there is more untapped talent in the Muskegon area and plans to double his staff within the next year.
Grand Rapids and West Michigan will likely never be Silicon Valley, but what good does it do for our community to produce a talent like Betten and then have him leave because there is no support for his business here. Because Betten has stayed, he has created 6 high skilled jobs and is creating more. His business will also rely on support from other local business such as accountants, lawyers, marketers, and more. Those that have been employed by Corlnet or that have done business with Corlnet, will grow and then in turn, create their own businesses or create new jobs.
The work that MAREC does to retain West Michigan’s best and brightest minds, as do so many other West Michigan coalitions, is so important for our local economy. These groups provide new businesses with the education and connections they need to succeed. When new businesses succeed that is a wonderful thing for everyone. The businesses that work with groups like MAREC still have a lot of work to do and still need to take the steps to protect themselves but they are definitely provided a boost.
Source: “Muskegon-born software company is the latest tenant in GVSU energy center business incubator” by Dave Alexander