Posted in News on June 04, 2018

6/4/2018 // ZEELAND, MICH – Allegan County primary employers have a new resource to support their growth. Allegan County Board of Commissioners agreed to contract with Lakeshore Advantage to extend economic development services to the county’s nearly 200 primary employers. Lakeshore Advantage business support services include growth assistance, tackling talent challenges and looking forward to ensure long term economic health in the community. The three-year contract began June 1, 2018.  
“The Allegan County Economic Development Commission and Lakeshore Advantage share a history of collaboration. Recent economic development successes demonstrate the results possible through collaboration and the expertise Lakeshore Advantage brings,” said Robert Sarro, Allegan County Administrator.  “Allegan County is excited to build upon these successes through this increased partnership that will benefit all of Allegan County and our broader region.”
Lakeshore Advantage is a non-profit, local economic development agency started in 2003 by forward-focused business and community leaders to assist employers in Holland, Zeeland and Saugatuck. In 2014, Lakeshore Advantage extended its geographical footprint to offer growth assistance to Ottawa County employers.  Lakeshore Advantage has been serving City of Holland based primary employers in Allegan County since 2003.  
“The Lakeshore Advantage team is highly effective in delivering solutions to manufacturers and other primary employers,” said Steve Ramus, board member of Lakeshore Advantage and of the Allegan County Economic Development Commission who is also Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Perrigo Company plc. “This partnership opens up opportunities for collaboration that could lead to positive impacts in both counties, building the economic strength of the region as a whole.” 
Ottawa County is the fastest growing county in the state over the last eight years, growing at a pace of 8.5% over that time frame. Allegan County is also one of the fastest growing counties in Michigan, experiencing growth at a rate of 4.5% since 2010.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 7,400 Allegan County residents commute into Ottawa County for work, while more than 9,900 Ottawa County residents commute into Allegan County for work.
“This partnership means we will be able to extend our services to support businesses, from startups to grownups, ensuring great jobs for current and future generations in two of Michigan’s fastest growing counties,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage president. “We’ve created a highly successful economic development model and are ready to scale to support all of Allegan County for benefit of their employers, residents and the county’s future economic vitality.”
Lakeshore Advantage works with primary employers. These employers make goods or provide services that are exported out of the region, which returns wealth back into the region. These employers are the economic backbone of a community.