The Great Lakes Ag-Tech Business Incubator, announced in Ottawa County today, will specialize in helping farmers and entrepreneurs turn their ag-tech machine, equipment, or software ideas and inventions into successful businesses.

The Great Lakes Ag-Tech Business Incubator provides assistance for start-up companies including help with obtaining patents, developing markets, streamlining regulatory permits, developing financial plans, assembling management teams, obtaining business financing, and developing supplier sustainability plans.

Ottawa County has high-speed wireless broadband throughout the county which is expected to help further propel businesses with the incubator.

Michigan awarded $500,000 over three years to support the Great Lakes Ag-Tech Business Incubator, according to State Rep. Joe Haveman, R-Holland. 

There is no fee for entrepreneurs to use the services if they are selected to be a client in the incubator. Instead, clients must agree to return two percent of their gross annual sales to the incubator.  At year 10, entrepreneurs have a buy-out option.

The Ag-Tech model plans for these “business services fees” to sustain the incubator in the future.

Unlike typical incubators, the Great Lakes Ag-Tech Business Incubator does not provide physical building space for its clients.  The “garage incubator” model dedicates almost all of its resources solely to staff. However, when facilities are needed for clients, the incubator will provide it on a case-by-case basis.

The incubator has created a Member County Partnership Program that allows other counties to benefit from the incubator’s pool of technical experts, sponsor donations, and business consultants.

Barry County is the first County to sign-on as a Member County. Several other Michigan counties have expressed interest.

Farmers, entrepreneurs, and business owners who have an equipment, machinery, software or other ag-tech product idea may contact Ottawa County to apply for incubator services at (616) 738-4852 or plan@miottawa.org.

Great Lakes Ag-Tech Business Incubator