HANCOCK — The Entrepreneur Support Center (ESC), a collaboration between MTEC SmartZone and Finlandia University, was selected for an international economic development award at the Computerworld Laureate Honors Program  in Washington D.C.

MTEC SmartZone partnered with Finlandia University to open ESC with a grant from Michigan Economic Development Corp. ESC has been in operation since May 2011.

ESC’s high-tech facility features business-grade computer and telecommunications equipment along with professional business consultants. In just over a year, more than 60 entrepreneurs received services and 32 LLCs have been filed. The ESC success story caught the attention of the Computerworld Laureate Honors Program.

ESC was awarded for playing a role in economic development by using information technology to create, enable, improve or expand business and job opportunities, advance a positive work environment and provide support for entrepreneurs.

The Computerworld Laureate Honors Program included a gala event held at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C. At the event, more than 200 awards were presented in various categories.

Accepting the award was MTEC SmartZone Program Director, Jonathan Leinonen. He acknowledged the award’s true recipients, stating, “It is an honor to accept the award on behalf of entrepreneurs who overcome fear and adversity and make a commitment to the economic and social well-being of our community, state and nation.”

MTEC SmartZone contended with global brands like Hewlett-Packard, Boston Technologies and Kellogg. According to Leinonen, it was still a long shot. “I knew it was highly competitive,” he said, “but community involvement to start businesses set our program apart.”

For more information on the Computerworld Honors Program, please visit www.cwhonors.org.


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