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State grant helps Traverse City business incubator

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The cherry capital of the world isn’t necessarily known for its tech companies, but grant money from the state could help one begin to change that.

Eric Roberts is the executive director of 20 Fathoms. He said his company provides connections to entrepreneurs to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the MEDC.

“So we embarked on that process with that entrepreneur, we helped him get the funding that he needed that he could apply to start building that up," Roberts said.

Connections to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation—the MEDC—have been important in redefining Traverse City as a “smart zone," he said. It's an area where tech companies are placed next to community resources that they need.

"A lot of that success has come despite not being the state of Michigan’s smart zones," Roberts said. "So that partnership with the MEDC that helps us feel a little bit more like a smart zone will only help us do more of that in the future."

They don’t usually receive grant money because Traverse City isn’t seen as a hotspot for tech companies, he said.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.