MTEC SmartZone Celebrates Decade of Growing Small Businesses Creates more than 350 local jobs

HOUGHTON, Michigan (August 12, 2013) – MTEC SmartZone is celebrating a 10-year milestone. From humble beginnings, the high-tech business incubator transformed the cities of Houghton and Hancock into a vibrant and growing technology sector, creating more than 350 jobs locally.


MTEC SmartZone was established as a result of collaboration between the cities of Houghton and Hancock, Michigan Technological University and Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA). MTEC SmartZone provides facilities and support services to technology-based start-up companies to help them flourish.


The community has been greatly impacted by MTEC SmartZone’s presence. In the past 10 years, MTEC SmartZone has:


• Supported 44 technology companies

• Created 32 start-up companies

• Attracted 6 Fortune 500 companies

• Created over 350 high-tech jobs

• Received $4 million in building investments

• Facilitated $3 million in program grants

• Obtained $525,000 in client funding

• Created political goodwill

• Established 4 incubator locations

• Graduated 10 companies that are growing locally

• Launched a pre-incubator program


MTEC SmartZone is an economic pillar in the community. Several success stories have emerged from the business incubator, including Talon Research, which outgrew its tenant space and now thrives in downtown Hancock. In 2012, GE Aviation alone contributed $4 million in salaries into the community.

MTEC SmartZone CEO Marilyn Clark said, “With all of the great things we’ve accomplished, what I’m most proud of is the political goodwill generated by the cities of Houghton and Hancock, Michigan Tech and KEDA. Our working together is what makes MTEC SmartZone a success.”


MTEC SmartZone’s successes have captured the attention of national and state government officials:


U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow - “For ten years, MTEC SmartZone has been instrumental in helping entrepreneurs turn innovative ideas into high-tech businesses that are creating hundreds of new jobs in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Congratulations to MTEC SmartZone, Michigan Tech, and all of the community partners for achieving this major milestone.”


U.S. Senator Carl Levin - “Small business is the heart of America’s economic strength and job creation. MTEC SmartZone’s collaboration on numerous Upper Peninsula business endeavors over the past decade has not only brought many ideas to commercialization and job growth along with that, but in doing so, increased our capacity for technological innovation and enhanced our international competitiveness.”


State Senator Tom Casperson - “The Keweenaw has attracted industrious, inventive people for generations. MTEC SmartZone builds on that tradition by providing a collaborative platform for people, ideas and products to flourish, which greatly benefits the economy of the entire region and beyond. In 10 short years, MTEC SmartZone has become a U.P. success story.”


State Representative Scott Dianda - “The Keweenaw’s high concentration of scientists and engineers, unique terrain and quality of life are great assets to business start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. MTEC SmartZone has excelled at developing great ideas into small businesses that create jobs, and it’s been an ambassador for the Keweenaw to big businesses that might have overlooked our corner of the world. The program that created MTEC SmartZone is government at its best, and I’m proud to have it in my district.”


Commercialization of technology and job creation are top priorities of MTEC SmartZone. Through partnerships with the local business community, university affiliations, city leaders and economic development organizations, MTEC SmartZone makes that happen. “We have achieved a great deal of success in the past decade,” Clark said. “My goal in the next 10 years is to create 750 more high-tech jobs.”