ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A new study shows a never-before-seen business growth in two West Michigan counties in 2022.

Lakeshore Advantage, an economic development organization for both Allegan and Ottawa counties, released its 2022 Successful Projects and Achievements report, which broke down the measurable expansion.

Last year, the counties witnessed a total of $2.38 billion invested by businesses and an additional $436 million brought in for expansions. Lakeshore Advantage President Jennifer Owens called these numbers “historic.”

“It’s historic in the fact that this is just a significant amount of investment and growth,” she said.

Nearly $2 billion of the money invested came from two companies, Gentex and LG Energy Solution, looking to use both Ottawa and Allegan counties for major projects. GenTex will be expanding its headquarters in Zeeland and bringing in 500 new jobs. LG will be creating a new Holland facility that will produce lithium-ion batteries for cars.

“We see these expansions and signs of great things to come,” Owens said.

Despite most of the contributions coming from the larger companies, Lakeshore spends most of its time working with the smaller businesses in the counties to help ensure they can stay afloat.

“Those are the important employers that will last a lifetime so we love seeing those small and mid-sized growths,” Owens said. “The two big projects are kind of a rarity … we welcome those as well but we love the small and mid-sized companies.”

Another key figure was the number of jobs created in 2022 with more than 3,300 new openings. While creating jobs is considered a good thing, Owens said that one of the biggest issues businesses in the counties and across the country have been facing is finding workers to fill them.

Gentex has even announced a plan to retain employees with an on-site childcare facility after recognizing that was something workers considered necessary to remain employed there. Owens said that moves like this have been brought to the top of employers’ minds as the workforce continues to dwindle.

“Attracting, retaining and growing the talent base is one of the most important things for our region,” she said. “We have great jobs here and we are ready to welcome them.”

You can view the full expansion projects report by visiting the Lakeshore Advantage website.