We are catalysts.

We help companies grow their business and maximize talent to keep the economy strong.

While global economic challenges and their required strategies change with the times, our work as an economic catalyst remains focused on making positive change happen by creating jobs for all citizens in Southwest Michigan. Our work leads us across industry lines; we’re comfortable in private, public, government, education and nonprofit sectors.

We partner with our clients to accelerate their organizations at their point of need. From new building acquisitions and supplier connections to custom coaching, our tailored solutions transform companies from good to best in class.

Our team is ready to turn your goals into reality with our keen business expertise and local insight.

We Are Catalysts

Change matters.

Behind everything we do at Southwest Michigan First is our belief that the greatest force for change is a job.

Everything we do is centered around creating jobs and–by extension–a thriving community in which citizens have the opportunity to live vibrantly and companies are empowered to succeed and grow.

Why do we do what we do? We believe that jobs have the ultimate power to change someone’s life for the better. A job can improve an individual’s quality of life and help them provide for their family and loved ones. Beyond that, a job can help a person grow their confidence, self-respect and independence. Jobs allow people to become valuable contributors to the community in which they live.

Downtown Kalamazoo

How We Do it

Our community’s future depends on the ability of our local companies to grow, be competitive and change with the times.

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We pursue existing industry growth and the development of small businesses to keep our region globally competitive and improve the quality of life for all residents.

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We seek to diversify the economy by sharing the advantages of how a Southwest Michigan site is the optimal place for your next strategic location.

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We host tailored leadership programming focused on developing local talent, building a unified community and encouraging long-lasting relationships.

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We connect with our clients and partners by sharing exciting regional news, key economic data, networking opportunities and cutting-edge initiatives.

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We bring together local creators and innovators to inspire, educate and share great ideas so that our region remains on the forefront of research and development.

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We offer custom coaching and consulting services to companies looking for assistance with economic incentives, access to capital, leadership principles and more.

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We create opportunities for our clients and partners to collaborate and form unique and meaningful relationships with an extended group of diverse business and community leaders.

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We provide educational resources and tools so the community we serve can become increasingly informed on local, regional and state policies affecting economic growth.

Where We Work

While our team is called upon to share our skills around the globe, the primary focus for our operations is in the seven-county region of Southwest Michigan.

With the region’s geographic center—Kalamazoo—touted as one of the top places offering the lowest cost of living in America and praised for its thriving job market, it’s easy to see why we know our region’s future is bright!

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Look who's here with us!

From Fortune 500 companies to two-person start-ups, Southwest Michigan is home to some of the world’s most innovative companies and has been for more than a century.

The regional strategic location and skilled workforce diversified in our primary industry sectors have made the region a leader in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, design-based manufacturing, packaging, agriculture, food processing, logistics and more.

Did you know…

  • 20 Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered or physically present.
  • We’re the location of choice for the world headquarters of Stryker Corporation, Pfizer Global Manufacturing, Whirlpool Corporation and W.K. Kellogg Co.
  • The divisional headquarters of Parker Pneumatic North America, Zoetis Global R&D, Eaton Vehicle Group and Newell Brands Design Center are here.
  • Southwest Michigan is the site selected by more than 100 international companies.

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