WalletHub names Holland best US city for startups

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — There may be more entrepreneurs soon heading to West Michigan after business experts named Holland the best small city in the nation to start a business.

The tulip-speckled city beat out more than 1,200 other cities to earn the top spot on WalletHub’s list, largely due to its access to resources, like investors and higher education assets.

“We’re a place that people want to be,” City Manager Keith Van Beek told 24 Hour News 8.

He said that support for new businesses is in Holland’s “DNA and culture.”

“We have a lot of great history and tradition of great ideas that were spawned in garages here that turned into fantastic large companies,” Van Beek stated.

Eager entrepreneurs aren’t the only people trying to set up shop in Holland.

“We’ve been trying for about two years to get downtown,” said Jake Hogeboom, a broker at @Home Realty. “This was the third or fourth property that we made an offer on.”

Hogeboom founded the company in Grand Haven six years ago. Months later, it expanded to the outskirts of Holland. His business outgrew that space and construction will soon wrap up on @Home Realty’s new building at the corner of E. 7th Street and College Avenue.

Hogeboom said he’s excited to be closer to the downtown energy.

“We love the development, we love what the city’s doing (and) what the local developers are doing,” he explained.

The company’s new downtown location will boast a massive slide, offering transport from the second to first floor. It also features an in-house arcade.

However, the building will be much more than an adult playground. The third floor will transform into a space to support other businesses.

“We’ll have 27 offices up there to rent out for smaller local businesses that just need one or two offices, that are looking to grow or start up businesses that can be a part of a building of this capacity but don’t have the budget to go and get a big office in this location,” Hogeboom explained.

Holland’s economic development group, Lakeshore Advantage, seems to have played a big role in its WalletHub ranking. The city’s access to investors as well as job growth between 2013 and 2017 helped thrust it to that No. 1 spot.

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