Michigan Entrepreneurs WIN with Harrison Leffel-Jones

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Harrison Leffel-Jones: Empowering Michigan Entrepreneurs

Unlocking Opportunities with Economic Development Agencies

Carrie Richardson, Richardson & Richardson Consulting

Michigan entrepreneurs are in good hands.

This week on the WIN – What’s Important Now Podcast, we interviewed Harrison Leffel-Jones, Executive Director of Lansing Regional Smart Zone.  If you own a business in Michigan, are starting a business in Michigan, or are planning to start a business in Michigan, you won’t want to miss this episode! This week, we discovered a wealth of resources available to Michigan entrepreneurs of all kinds, stages and sizes!

With Harrison’s help, we delve deeper into how Michigan entrepreneurs economic development agencies, like the Lansing Regional Smart Zone, play a pivotal role in fostering business growth.

You can listen to Harrison’s WIN podcast right here:


The Importance of Economic Development Agencies

Economic development agencies are the backbone of a thriving business ecosystem. They serve as catalysts for growth, providing critical support, resources, and opportunities for startups and established businesses alike. In Mid-Michigan, one of the major resources for entrepreneurs is the Lansing Regional Smart Zone, and their Executive Director, Harrison Leffel-Jones.

Leffel-Jones focuses on empowering businesses and entrepreneurs across the region. His expertise in economic development and passion for innovation make him a driving force behind Michigan’s economic resurgence.

Non-Dilutive Grant Funding: A Game-Changer for Underserved Founders

One of the cornerstones of Smart Zone’s offerings is non-dilutive grant funding. This innovative approach to funding startups is a game-changer. Unlike traditional investment, which often requires relinquishing ownership or equity, non-dilutive grant funding provides financial support without diluting the ownership stake of the founders.

This funding model covers essential services for startups, alleviating the initial financial burden. From legal and marketing services to product development, startups can access vital resources without depleting their own capital. It’s a strategic move that sets the stage for sustainable growth.  Many of the Smart Zone offerings focus on supporting underserved entrepreneurs.

Connecting Entrepreneurs with Expertise

Smart Zone acts as a hub for connecting startups with essential services. Leffel-Jones emphasizes the importance of a robust network of experts and service providers. By participating in events and engaging with their trusted provider network, businesses gain access to a pool of seasoned professionals.

For startups navigating the complex landscape of legalities, marketing strategies, or technical development, having expert guidance can be a game-changer. Smart Zone ensures that entrepreneurs have the support they need to make informed decisions and navigate the path to success.

Expanding Downtown Lansing: A Collaborative Effort

The revitalization of downtown areas is a crucial component of economic development. Leffel-Jones highlights the collaborative efforts with Downtown Lansing and other partners in reshaping the business landscape. Smart Zone’s involvement extends beyond the digital realm, actively supporting businesses in adapting to the evolving physical business environment.

The transformation of downtown areas creates vibrant hubs where businesses thrive. New bookstores, expanded game stores, and a slew of restaurants and coffee shops are testament to the positive impact of these efforts. Smart Zone’s role in this transformation underscores its commitment to the holistic growth of the region.

Future-Forward: Picturing the Next 50 Years

Leffel-Jones is not just focused on the present; he’s looking ahead to the next half-century. He envisions a future where technology empowers traditional businesses. From manufacturing to retail, embracing innovation will be key to staying competitive in a rapidly evolving market.

As technology continues to advance, businesses that adapt and integrate cutting-edge tools will have a distinct advantage. Harrison is dedicated to ensuring that businesses in Michigan are not only equipped with the latest technology but also possess the knowledge and skills to leverage it effectively.

Accessing Smart Zone’s Support

Smart Zone’s support is accessible to businesses at all stages of development. Leffel-Jones emphasizes that whether you have a business idea scribbled on a napkin or are a growing and scaling company, Smart Zone has services tailored to your needs.

For larger businesses, the focus may be on connecting with entities like the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and statewide programs. On a micro level, Smart Zone provides hands-on services, covering essential aspects of business development. This inclusive approach ensures that businesses of all sizes and stages receive the support they require.

An Exciting Chapter for Lansing

Leffel-Jones radiates excitement when discussing the future of Lansing and Michigan as a whole. With Lansing’s central location, it serves as a strategic hub, offering businesses access to a diverse and vibrant network of resources.

The Lansing Regional Smart Zone is at the forefront of this exciting chapter. Its dynamic programs, partnerships, and innovative funding models are poised to drive economic growth and entrepreneurial success in the region.

Stay tuned for more in-depth insights on resources for businesses in Michigan!

Be Our Guest On WIN!

If you’re interested in sharing your success on WIN, we’re always interested in hosting entrepreneurs and business leaders.  Sign up to be a guest on WIN here!

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