About Us

Innovate Marquette: Transforming the Marquette Area into a
Centralized Hub for Technology and Innovation

Fostering a collaborative entrepreneurial community that is based on equal opportunities for financial funding, accessibility, sustainability, and creativity for entrepreneurs, businesses owners , startups, and innovators who call Marquette home. 

Innovate Marquette was established in 2015, adding its name to the twenty one other SmartZones located in the state of Michigan. Our organization exists as a service provider to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to transform our community into a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, complete with the necessary resources, technology, capital, and array of opportunities to attract top-tier innovators who are looking for a place to put down roots with their scalable technology business or startup. 

Thanks to the support of the MEDC, the City of Marquette, Northern Michigan University and our other dedicated partners, Innovate Marquette is able to provide comprehensive support, guidance, and services to local entrepreneurs, innovators, startups, and small business owners who are looking to innovate.  

Additionally, we are working to attract scalable technology companies and start-ups to the Marquette area in order to create higher-paying jobs and increased opportunities for the larger community as a whole. We are actively seeking to connect new entrepreneurs, small businesses, startups, and innovators into our ever-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

You have your part to play in our interconnected world of creatives, entrepreneurs, business ventures, and innovative minds. Let us help your latest idea find a home where it can thrive.

Areas of Expertise

Outdoor Innovation

It’s no secret that the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a leader in the Midwest outdoor recreation industry. So, it only makes sense that products and services catered to mobility and accessibility within the industry are fostered, tested, and manufactured here. Innovate Marquette and our partners are dedicated to aiding technology-focused start-ups that fall within this business sector. For our clients we focus on those who have tech-focused ideas and business ventures that uplift accessibility in outdoor recreation and mobility (If time: such as our Entrepreneur in Residence and Shophouse Park)

Sustainable Technology

Sustainable technology is an umbrella term that describes innovation that considers natural resources and fosters economic and social development. The goal of these technologies is to drastically reduce environmental and ecological risks and to create a sustainable product. Sustainable economics and business practices are at the core of our organization. We approach sustainable practices for ourselves, our clients, and our community from a human, social, economic, and environmental perspective. We are incredibly fortunate to have a state university, Northern Michigan University, being front of the pack for sustainability in our region. In addition, we work with partners who are spearheading sustainability, connecting them with innovative technologies that will amplify the work that they do.

Creative Technology

We believe creativity is the backbone of entrepreneurship, technology and innovation and are dedicated to supporting creative thinking and businesses to fuel our economy. We assist creative tech businesses such as app development, SaaS, and independent gaming studios such as our client Ambitious Games and the collaboration on Ground Zero Design. Our local area also has a Cyber Security Institute – which is equal parts science and art.

Our mission is to strengthen Marquette’s economy by providing innovators access to critical resources, mentorship, business services, talent, funding, and network collaboration. We aim to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem with an emphasis on ventures in outdoor innovation, creative technology, and sustainable technology; where all founders feel welcome .

What comes to mind when you think about technology hubs and entrepreneurial communities? Here in Marquette we have the fresh air and access to space for ideas to grow in parallel high speed broadband workforce development opportunities and a statewide network of business resources.

Local & Regional Support

Understanding and embracing the role of collaboration in the world of entrepreneurship is essential for individuals and businesses of all shapes and sizes, despite often being a lonely endeavor, . That’s why Innovate Marquette offers a variety of programs and services in cooperation with other innovative institutions around Marquette’s community and beyond.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) collaborates with more than 100 economic development partners to assist businesses of all sizes with their growth and operational strategies, and in turn is successful in fostering incredibly vibrant communities all across the state. From financial funding to connection opportunities, this partnership is instrumental in recognizing Marquette as Michigan’s next tech and innovation hub.

See how it works

The City of Marquette has been a supporter of Innovate Marquette SmartZone since it’s inception in 2015. The City Commission acts as the legislative branch of city government. The City of Marquette elects seven commissioners during non-partisan, city-wide elections. All official action of the Commission is accomplished through ordinance, resolution, motion or order. The duties of the Commission are to represent the citizens of Marquette, establish policies and approve the budget.

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Northern Michigan University, located in Marquette, Michigan, is a dynamic four-year, public, comprehensive university that has grown its reputation based on its award-winning leadership programs, cutting-edge technology initiatives and nationally recognized academic programs. It offers over 170 degree programs, including 25 graduate programs. More than 75 percent of NMU’s 300-plus full-time faculty members have doctorates or the highest degree in their fields, and a hallmark of the NMU experience is that full-time faculty members teach at all levels – freshmen through graduate courses. NMU’s 1,100 employees view helping students succeed as not only a university priority, but a personal goal.

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Innovative Programs

Known as the idea incubator® at Northern Michigan University, this unique program offers a variety of entrepreneurial support services, forging mutually beneficial partnerships between NMU students and the local business community. Innovate Marquette is proud to manage the student team and oversee the day to day operations of this program in cooperation with the university.

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With 83 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, over forty parks and recreation spaces available only a 10 minute drive away, and access to a wide array of art, culture, and cuisine all around, it’s not rocket science why many decide to call Marquette home. But when it comes to finding business and career opportunities, does the city stand up to the test? Find out directly by hearing the voices of business owners, remote workers, and community members who are proud to call Marquette homebase.


See why Marquette is the place to call home.

This statewide program, founded by our partners at Spark, matches students attending Michigan-based colleges and universities with STEM-focused internship opportunities at some of the state’s most innovative organizations, providing both meaningful career opportunities for students and financial support to the companies that host these internships.

Learn more the program.

To view our full list of programs see our Programs and Services page or to see our comprehensive list of partners visit our Partner’s page.

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