Great Lakes Ag Tech Business Incubator Seeks Farmer-Entrepreneurs

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budget, with the money technically coming to the incubator from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Incubator clients must also agree to return two percent of their gross annual sales back to the incubator. After 10 years, entrepreneurs are able to exercise a buy-out option if they choose. Sachs says the fee structure is intended to quickly commercialize incubator technology and generate sales.

Additionally, the incubator has established a Member County Partnership Program that allows other counties to benefit from the incubator’s pool of technical experts, sponsor donations, and business consultants at cost-effective rates. Barry County is the first to sign on as a member county; it will fund one client from its community to participate in the incubator. Sachs anticipates more counties will be interested in the program.

Sachs’s goal is to have 10 incubator clients to start, then expand gradually as member counties join the program. Those who are interested in participating in the incubator should contact (616) 738-4852 or plan@miottawa.org. “Our growth is predicated on demand,” he adds. “We don’t want to grow too fast.”

Sachs notes that although ag-based technologies haven’t been too hot with investors lately, it is a sector that is garnering more attention. “Most investors don’t understand agriculture or agricultural technology, but it’s such a vibrant part of Michigan’s economy that it’s getting more interest. We’re excited to be at the forefront of a big opportunity.”

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