MUSKEGON — More than 20 investors have joined forces along the Lake Michigan shore to create a new Muskegon-based angel investment group.

Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, which hosts a business incubator, was the scene of the announcement of the group.

According to the principals of the organization, Mike Olthoff of Nichols and Larry Hines of Hines Corporation, the idea of an Angel group in Muskegon began in 2012 when individuals in the business community decided Muskegon needed its own Angel investment group rather than relying on investment groups elsewhere.

More than 20 individuals are participating, with some members located beyond Muskegon County. Participants agree to invest $125,000 over five years; when fully capitalized, the organization’s financial assets will total more than $2.75 million.

Olthoff and Hines, with leadership assistance from John Pridnia of Rehmann, Paul Jackson of Warner Norcross & Judd and Eric Seifert of Grand Valley, spearheaded the effort.

The Muskegon Angels will focus on local growth, investment and assistance, specifically in the areas of advanced manufacturing, food processing, technology, and water-related innovations and businesses. The organization will also mentor the entrepreneurs they support. The initiative will be housed at MAREC with assistance from Kevin McCurren, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Grand Valley, and the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center.

Muskegon entrepreneurs who are interested in presenting a proposal to the Muskegon Angels should contact Eric Seifert at (616) 331-6906.

Angel groups typically fill a gap when the entrepreneur has exhausted all resources and traditional bank financing is not available or is very limited. Angel investor groups step in to assist at a time when the young business has proven itself to be viable and needs financing for growth. There are many angel investment groups around the country especially in the state of Michigan, including the Grand Angels of greater Grand Rapids.


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