Econ Developers Launch Web Site

March 8, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Economic developers from across West Michigan have launched a Web site to attract new business to the region.

The site, www.BestMichigan.org, which officially started today, is a comprehensive approach by the West Michigan Economic Development Partnership to market West Michigan for new and expanded investment opportunities.

The group includes economic development professionals from Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Barry, Ionia, Newaygo and Allegan counties.

“Web site searches are the accepted standard for initial screening of potential sites to locate new businesses,” said Greg Northrup, director of economic development-special projects for Consumers Energy. Northrup is a board member of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance and chairman of WMEDP.

He said it makes more sense for various economic development experts to collaborate rather than compete because West Michigan as a regional market will generate thousands of search engine inquiries. Between 40 percent and 60 percent of new projects are driven by site consultants, he said.

“International and national site consultants do their first investigation of potential new business sties for their clients on the Internet,” Northrup said. “We’re alerting this influential group to the Web site with broadcast e-mail and follow-up communication.”

Members of the WMEDP include: The Allegan County Economic Development Alliance; Barry County Economic Development Alliance; Ionia County Economic Alliance; Muskegon Area First; Ottawa County Economic Development Office Inc.; The Right Place Inc.; Van Andel Global Trade Center; Lakeshore Advantage; Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven/Spring Lake/Ferrysburg; Consumers Energy Inc.; Whittaker Associates Inc; and the West Michigan Strategic Alliance.    

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