Michigan’s Upper Peninsula welcomes you!

The Upper Peninsula has a stellar reputation for beautiful natural resources, great vacations, and yes, plenty of snow! And while its shorelines, forests, and outdoor adventures have provided Michigan bragging rights, there is another undiscovered and untapped new energy source: the Upper Peninsula business community.

Businesses here are launching, growing, and thriving, thanks to a diligent, dedicated, and passionate workforce, affordable housing, talent and research at four universities, a welcoming and business-friendly environment, and a lifestyle you will not find anywhere else in the Midwest.

The Upper Peninsula region puts the “Pure” in Pure Michigan.

Workforce Statistics

In a 2017 CNBC poll of Top States for Business, Michigan’s workforce was ranked 11th overall. That’s because our greatest natural resource is our people. From engineers, IT professionals and tradesman, to retail, manufacturing, and service workers, our skilled workforce is diverse and flexible. But the thing that really makes us unique is a combination of grit and dependability which comes from our rich history and heritage.


Key Demographics


Entrepreneurial Resources

Because our government, academia, and the business communities collaborate so effectively, the Upper Peninsula has become one of the state’s strongest entrepreneurial regions. The Upper Peninsula is home to three of Michigan’s SmartZones, business accelerators that energize high-tech business growth and support innovation throughout the region. The SmartZones have collectively created more than 45 companies and hundreds of jobs.

The Upper Peninsula has a total of six business incubators anchored by educational institutions. Four co-working spaces have popped up to support these start-ups as they get to market.


With 6 commercial and 23 private airports, 6 deep-water ports, 766 miles of commercial rail, and two days’ shipping to either coast, the Upper Peninsula is more accessible than you might think.

Whether you’re arriving from airports in Chicago, Detroit or Minneapolis, it’s about an hour’s flight away. Northern Airways, a local charter airlines, also provides Upper Peninsula companies with professional executive-class charter to any US destination.


A 2017 CNBC poll of Top States for Business ranked Michigan 11th overall. Workforce was ranked 13, technology and innovation came in at 9, and cost of living took third place. Want more? Michigan is ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. for both corporate and sales tax rates.

A competitive workforce, affordable cost of living, and nature-based lifestyle are among the Upper Peninsula region’s distinct advantages. Our communities will welcome your business with incentives. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) partners with local communities to help match your business with the perfect location and all available tax incentives. We’re committed to helping your business thrive. While each community may offer unique incentive programs, generally you can ask about any of the following programs:

  • Skilled Trades Training Fund
  • Tax Abatement
  • Tax Increment Financing
  • Business Development Program
  • Community Revitalization Program
  • State Small Business Credit Initiative
  • 21st Century Jobs Fund
  • Community Development Block Grant
  • Brownfield Tax Increment Financing
  • Michigan Community Revitalization Program
  • Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act
  • Pure Michigan Business Connect
  • Economic Gardening
  • Strategic Trade Export Program
  • Taxable Bond Financing
  • Agribusiness Financing Programs
  • State Trade and Expert Promotion
  • Capital Access Program
  • Michigan Business Growth Fund Loan Participation Program
  •  Industrial Property Tax Abatement
  • Local Development Financing Act

Access to Capital

The Upper Peninsula provides businesses with a variety of financing options from local and regional banks with strong lending power and the luxury of being able to make decisions locally.

In addition, start-ups and small business have access to non-profit lending options through local revolving loan funds, business incubators, and Northern Initiatives. Northern Initiatives is a Community Development Financial Institution that provides loans and business services to small business owners and entrepreneurs who create jobs and enable the communities of Michigan and neighboring Wisconsin to thrive.

Business Start-up Resources

The Upper Peninsula has a strong network of local economic developers who can help you find the resources you need to start and grow a business. Some of those consulting, financial, and office space resources may include:

Workforce Training

While there are many established workforce training programs throughout the Upper Peninsula, we encourage you to call InvestUP to find a program that fits your specific needs.

Strong scholarship programs are available throughout the Upper Peninsula. If you can’t find one that’s right for you, we’ll help your business find the potential funding or hands-on training you need.

Community Colleges
Bay College – Escanaba
Bay College West – Iron Mountain
Bay Mills Community College – Brimley
Gogebic Community College – Ironwood
Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College – Baraga

Great Lakes Boat Building School – Cedarville
Les Cheneaux Culinary School – Hessel
Electrical Line Technician Program – Marquette
Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) Program

Finlandia University – Hancock
Lake Superior State University – Sault Ste. Marie
Michigan Technological University – Houghton
Northern Michigan University – Marquette