MTEC SmartZone to Continue Providing Vital Startup Services through Additional Support from the State

HOUGHTON, MI – April 29, 2021 –

In February this year, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) Board approved a one-year extension of its $100,000 Gateway Representative Business Incubator Grant for MTEC SmartZone. The grant, administered through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), will enable continued support of high-tech start-up businesses based in the Houghton/Hancock area.

“The Gateway Grants have proven to be an essential funding source,” said MTEC’s Chief Commercial Officer, Patrick Visser, “It has enabled MTEC SmartZone to bring additional value to our startup clients through outreach – these efforts include attending a variety of conferences, investor meetings, seminars and other important networking events to build and expend relationships, and share information with investors, potential customers and strategic partners. These support activities are particularly important for traditionally under-represented companies such as women and minority owned startups. The grant also allows us to connect clients with MEDC programs and resources, and spend the necessary time to support these initiatives.”

The Gateway Representative Business Incubator program supports the 21 SmartZones across Michigan by assigning a dedicated representative at each SmartZone to serve as a point of contact for startup companies. MTEC SmartZone has received support through the program since 2016, during which time it has served 255 companies, helped to form 31 new companies and created 189 jobs.

SightLine, a predictive analytics company focused on enrollment, retention, financial aid and budgeting for higher education, is one of many MTEC SmartZone clients that have benefited from the Gateway Representative Grant.  Founder and CEO Ashley Kern said “Patrick Visser, MTEC CCO, personally committed his time to introduce SightLine to investors and various state resources and funding. He was integral in helping us prepare for and close our first round of financing. Patrick helped us navigate many business hurdles while keeping our best interest in mind.” 

“Resources like the Gateway Representative Business Incubator program have been critical to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Michigan where high-tech companies of all sizes can not only grow but thrive,” said Denise Graves, University Relations Director for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiative at MEDC. “We are pleased to offer this continued support to our great partners at the MTEC SmartZone in Houghton – and others throughout the state – to ensure Michigan remains an innovative home for entrepreneurial opportunities.”

The Gateway Representative Business Incubator program supports MTEC’s mission in accelerating high-tech business growth by supporting entrepreneurial activities such as making important connections, exploring investment opportunities, and finding important local and state resources. Through programs like these, which are crucial to the growth and sustainability of high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystems, the state invests in the future of Michigan-based high-tech innovations like those coming from the driven start-up community present in Houghton County.

Find out how MTEC SmartZone can help get your high-tech business started in the right direction.  (


About MTEC

Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation (MTEC) is one of 21 SmartZone Incubators in the State of Michigan. MTEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), its mission is to facilitate the creation and ongoing success of high-tech value propositions in conjunction with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Since 2003, the MTEC SmartZone has provided mentoring, technical support, and other services to local companies that have led to the creation of over 800 high-tech jobs in the Houghton and Hancock Michigan area. 

About MEDC

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at . Join the conversation on: Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn , and Twitter. 

MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech start-up companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more on MEDC Entrepreneurship & Innovation, visit

May 3, 2021: This Press Release was posted at the Mining Gazzette HERE