Lansing setting a foundation for startup businesses

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Local businesses downtown Lansing. Photo by: Britney VanderKodde

Economic growth has expanded in the city of Lansing and the city has become a prime location for entrepreneurship. The community has set a foundation of resources for startup companies in order to help new businesses thrive in the Lansing area.

Neil Kane is an expert in entrepreneurship and startup companies as he is the director of undergraduate entrepreneurship at Michigan State University. In regards to the economic growth in Lansing, Kane said, “There’s a lot of development going on in the area, a lot of real estate development, new apartments going up. That’s got to be good news.”

In fact,  the Greater Lansing Association of Realtors market data shows that the number of active single-family, condominium and town home listings at the end of each month has increased in the last year. Real estate is one catalyst for economic growth as the pool of potential Lansing employees raises.

Jeff Smith oversees the Lansing Technology Innovation Center and said, “We try to build a foundation in resources in order to to better serve the entrepreneur community. We do that through business incubation, office spaces, investment, small business resources and resources they may not have awareness of.”

“If you look at the sheer number of business that are located here we draw to this region an awful lot of support services,” Smith said.

“The existence of incubators and co working spaces which is what the TIC (Lansing Technology Innovation Center) is, usually the presence of those are highly correlated with how vibrant the startup scene is in the community,” Kane said. “It’s cheap, you get a lot of support and you get a lot of opportunity to network and kind of help and lean on the other companies that are there.”

According to the Lansing Economic Area Partnership website, “The financial and insurance sector in the Lansing area leads every other metropolitan area in the state in terms of total jobs (6.8 percent). Statewide, just 5.8 percent of jobs are in these two industries. Finance and insurance industries employ over 15,000 people in the Lansing region.”

Smith said, “The insurance cluster and that insurance industry is incredibly significant for this region. Having as many headquarters of those insurance companies here in town it draws, uhm the second or third tier resource to the market place which draws the next layer on past that.” The insurance industry is sparking advancement throughout Lansing’s business economy.

“So we have software development companies that are located here simply because of the insurance cluster. Then when you have that many software development folks you start to end up with new startups forming out of the software development and that’s exactly what is happening,” Smith said. “We’re seeing companies in the TIC that are spin outs of existing software development companies that are supporting both the insurances clusters in the state of Michigan right now and the Lansing area.”

When asked what incentives bring startup companies to the Lansing area, Smith said, “There’s what seems to be endless. There is no shortage of small business incentives and resources available here.”