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Lansing SmartZone Helped Spur Growth

The Lansing Regional SmartZone drove growth in the Greater Lansing region through its backing of 32 new companies and its support of 131 businesses in the last fiscal year, according to the new SmartZone annual impact report. The SmartZone contributed to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem through these direct support services and through raising $4 million in private and public funds during the fiscal year that ran through June 30.

“The tremendous successes spotlighted in our annual report have been years in the making,” said Ben Bakken, board chair of the Local Development Finance Authority, which oversees the local SmartZone. “We’re incredibly grateful to our partners for helping us lay the groundwork for long-term success. The partnerships that continue to grow, along with new ones being formed, mean a better, more inclusive, and more sustainable future.”

The Lansing Regional SmartZone stimulates the growth of technology-based businesses in the region by funding local partners to deliver exceptional entrepreneurial support services. An organization of leaders from all backgrounds and business sectors, the SmartZone is a partnership between Ingham County, the cities of Lansing and East Lansing, Lansing Community College, East Lansing Public Schools, Lansing School District, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Michigan State University Research Foundation, and Michigan State University Innovation Center. Since 2012, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership has managed the Lansing Regional SmartZone on behalf of the Local Development Finance Authority.

“The success stories showcased in the LRSZ annual impact report represent a major step forward for the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said SmartZone Development Director Harrison Leffel-Jones. “We’re tracking meaningful, measurable results and strengthening our partnerships with key stakeholders. We deployed sustainable funds to our regional partners that delivered exceptional results for high-growth, high-tech businesses.”

Key accomplishments in the fiscal year include:

  • The approval of the tax increment financing renewal, which allows the SmartZone to continue to collect and deploy funds until 2027.
  • A memorandum of understanding between the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, Michigan State University and the Michigan State University Research Foundation, which has led to greater collaboration and mutual support.
  • Improvements to the Technology Innovation Center business incubator, including a full-scale podcast studio. Occupancy at the center rose from 33% to 65%, including 10 new tenants.
  • The development of a new brand identity, which will raise awareness of SmartZone’s mission and focus.

“We have made several infrastructural enhancements that will allow the (SmartZone) to work more effectively and efficiently for decades to come,” Leffel-Jones said. “We have a lot to be excited about, and we’re thrilled to share our progress with the region.”

View the LRSZ Annual Impact Report Fiscal Year 2022-2023 here.