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Economic Development Ecosystem Map, Activate - Industry 4.0 Consortium, Thrive North Commercial Corridor Website, COVID-19 Impact Analysis, EDA Good Jobs Challenge Grant

Networks Northwest
Economic Strategy

Networks Northwest is the economic development organization serving the 10-county region of Northwest Lower Michigan. A multi-faceted organization, Networks Northwest serves businesses through administering small business, procurement, trade, and workforce programs. For communities without economic development capacity, Networks Northwest provides data, planning, and other technical assistance. They also have numerous community and talent-oriented programs and services.

Our Approach

In 2019, Networks Northwest first partnered with Fourth Economy to map the economic development ecosystem in northwest Michigan. Working throughout the 10-county region, Networks Northwest saw how a network of public, private, and non-profit organizations stitched together a robust array of programs and services to support economic development. However, that perspective evaded most of those individual organizations, and there was a general lack of understanding about how organizations working on issues such as housing or trails related to modern economic development, and to each other. Therefore, Fourth Economy utilized a combination of a survey and interviews to populate an ecosystem map, as well as worked with Networks Northwest to host a Regional Economic Diversification Summit, with participation from the U.S. Economic Development Agency. Participants representing local government, economic, and community development organizations helped identify other organizations and initiatives of note, and further developed opportunities to collaborate with one another and scale successful programs.

Since then, Fourth Economy has worked with Networks Northwest to develop an Analysis of COVID-19 Impacts in Northwest Michigan and Recovery Roadmap (2020); the creation of Thrive North, a promotional commercial corridor and investment opportunities website (2021); the “Activate i4.0” Industry 4.0 Consortium and application to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) (2021); and most recently, an EDA Good Jobs Challenge Grant Application (2022).

The Results

Our engagement with Networks Northwest on a variety of projects highlights our view that we are a true partner to our clients. We flex our versatility muscles to respond to clients’ changing needs, and offer a range of services to add capacity and help them succeed.


Northwest Lower Michigan

Project Type

Ecosystem Mapping

Client Type




Final Deliverable Design Samples (Click to Enlarge)
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