December 7, 2022 - 4:19 pm

2022: A Year of Growth at 20Fathoms

By 20Fathoms

Over the past year, 20Fathoms has grown in many directions as we’ve worked hard to further our mission: to accelerate the growth of tech startups, entrepreneurs, and scalable businesses in the Grand Traverse Region. As 2022 comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of the major highlights from the past year at 20Fathoms.

Helping Businesses Scale

  • 20Fathoms was awarded a $50,000 Business Incubator Program Gateway Representative grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund. We’re using the grant to support technology startups in our region including connecting them to valuable resources provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). This includes increased access to capital and facilitation of specialty funding programs like the Business Accelerator Fund.
  • Two companies graduated from our startup incubator: Hybrid Robotics, which designs and manufactures robotic solutions for research and inspections, and Starboard Solutions, which provides a technology solution for supply chain management. 
  • Together with our community partners, we co-hosted the inaugural Northern Michigan Startup Week. This celebration of the region’s growing startup community featured daily events including panel discussions with experts in space innovation and access to capital, several pitch competitions showcasing local and regional entrepreneurs, a social event recognizing innovation leaders, and an entrepreneurship bootcamp called Startup Weekend. 
During Northern Michigan Startup Week, 20Fathoms hosted the Startup Expo & Community Celebration where guests raised their glasses in a toast to our region’s startup community.

Facilitating a Tech Career Hub

  • Startups (as well as established businesses) require technology professionals like software developers. That’s why 20Fathoms is leading a regional effort to build a tech talent pipeline that supports our growing startup businesses and accelerates the region’s economy. The Grand Traverse Employer-led Collaborative includes representatives from local employers, educators, talent and economic development organizations working together to fill the skills gaps in tech training – which is critical for the region’s future. 
  • 20Fathoms launched two new initiatives that provide education and new connections for the region’s current and aspiring technology professionals. The Tech Career Discovery Series features local tech experts in panel discussions where they share their experiences and career journeys. The Women in Tech Meetup is a social group that promotes local connections, professional growth, and supporting women entering and advancing in technology.
Guests at a Women in Tech Meetup – a social group for those working in or interested in the tech industry or tech-related roles.

Leveraging community partnerships

  • 20Fathoms and Michigan Technological University developed a growing partnership to turn outcomes of research on campus into start-up businesses in Northern Michigan. During one joint event, representatives from the Michigan Tech Office of Innovation and Commercialization shared with startup leaders from 20Fathoms individual commercialization projects that have come out of research on campus and have the potential to become businesses that solve real world problems.
  • 20Fathoms is one of five education and nonprofit partners working together to develop a Freshwater Research and Innovation Center on West Grand Traverse Bay. Once complete, it will establish the Grand Traverse Region as a hub for applied freshwater innovation offering research, education, commercialization, incubation, and acceleration programs.

Building a vibrant 20Fathoms community

  • 20Fathoms introduced a new philanthropic initiative called the 20Fathoms Vision Fund to enhance the organization’s programs and services that advance tech entrepreneurship in the Grand Traverse Region.  Vision Fund donors like Vance and Beth Maultsby help provide services and resources for entrepreneurs and tech professionals including startup incubation programming, education, talent acquisition and development, research partnerships, shared workspace, and a community of innovators that fuel growth in Northern Michigan. 
  • During 2022, 20Fathoms saw record membership for our coworking space. More than 120 entrepreneurs and tech professionals are currently members. They’ve each found a workspace at 20Fathoms that promotes productivity, creative problem solving, and new connections through our incredible community.
Members gather for lunch and conversation at the 20Fathoms coworking space.

 As we head into 2023, we’re not slowing down. The 20Fathoms team is particularly excited to introduced expanded programming, access to capital, and resources for early-stage entrepreneurs, as well as expanded education resources for tech professionals. Stay tuned!