What is behind the resurgence of Muskegon? Look to its growing support for entrepreneurs.

When Kevin Ricco, the director of Grand Valley State University’s Muskegon Innovation Hub, returned to his home city in 2000 after about a decade and a half of living elsewhere, this West Michigan metropolis was on the precipice of sweeping change.


The industrial landscape that once dominated the city was shifting; the factory jobs people had relied upon for decades to feed their families were no longer a given. A year after Ricco returned, the Muskegon Mall shuttered for good, leaving in its wake a downtown almost entirely devoid of retail and a nonexistent street system in the 23 acres that, once upon a time, spelled economic revitalization for a struggling city. Not long after that, unemployment rates soared.

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