A project in the Upper Peninsula aimed at incubating startups to electrify outdoor recreation took a step forward on Tuesday.
The Board of Directors of the Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $3 million grant for a project in Marquette to help develop technologies related to the electrification of recreational vehicles such as ATVs, snowmobiles, RVs, personal watercraft and bicycles, and build infrastructure Smart and electrified trails throughout the Upper Peninsula.
The project is called Shop House Park Technology and Innovation Hub, whose parent company in Marquette is Hoponassu OZ LLC.
The project is owned and CEO by David Ollila. He said the project aims to have eight buildings totaling about 40,000 square feet on 3.44 acres. Total cost is estimated at $9 million, with groundbreaking scheduled for next fall and opening for fall 2024.
OIlila said the “OZ” in the company’s name stands for Opportunity Zone. He said “hoponassu” was a Finnish nickname given to him by his grandfather. “The direct translation is ‘nonsensical face,’ but more appropriately it means ‘energetic kid,'” he said.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. said in informational materials that she sees the Upper Peninsula as an ideal place for such an incubator.
“The applicant will capitalize on the collection of outdoor assets unique to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to facilitate research and development, product testing and evaluation,” said a press pack accompanying the meeting. “The Upper Peninsula is home to 8 million acres of accessible land, 10,000 miles of hiking trails, 4,300 lakes, 1,700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, and 12,000 river miles. All of this means it’s a great place for all types of recreation and therefore a great location for companies to research, test and develop new outdoor leisure products.