Lakeshore Advantage Turns 20: A Look Back at Initiatives That Grew the Economy


Foundation: Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area

West Michigan's lakeshore is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state, with the area's economy growing at about twice the rate of the state as a whole since the turn of the century, MLive.com reports.

And it's thanks in large part to the region's economic development group, Lakeshore Advantage.

"The success and prosperity of West Michigan's Lakeshore communities are a testament to the visionary leadership and collaborative efforts of business and community leaders in the region," says the group's website.

Back in 2003, there were only a dozen or so municipal and community professionals in the area who could help businesses, Lakeshore Advantage co-founder Dan Bourbon tells MLive.com.

Today, the region is home to more than 1,000 companies, including many that have called the Lakeshore home for decades.

"The entire industrial complex was becoming global," Bourbon says.

"If you think about the fact that Holland-Zeeland has a history of entrepreneurial development, family-owned businesses that grew to be big businesses'there's some strength in that,'" he adds.

Lakeshore Advantage has been around for 20 years, and it works to "ensure long-term economic vitality" in Ottawa and Allegan counties.

It also works to

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