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Rick DeVos on 'Start Garden': Is it working?

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

Whenever there's a conversation about looking for ways to generate ideas, business buzz and jobs, that conversation includes Grand Rapids.

Yesterday on Stateside, we noted that Grand Rapids was number four on a Forbes Magazine list of Best Cities in America to find a job.

In April 2012, Grand Rapids was in the news when ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos launched an "idea incubator" called Start Garden. The $15 million seed accelerator fund based in Grand Rapids was created to help launch more than 100 new business ideas each year.

Entrepreneurs can apply for funding for their ideas by submitting their proposal on the Start Garden website, startgarden.com. If a submission is chosen, the individual will receive a $5,000 investment with strings attached. Each initial investment is accompanied by a mandatory 90-day status update, during which the project has the opportunity to receive a larger buy-in of $20,000.

Ideas are chosen each week. One is chosen by Start Garden, and the other is selected based on a public vote.

DeVos said that Start Garden will be making larger investments of up to $500,000 in ideas that are particularly promising.

One year later, we're checking in with DeVos to get a progress report for Start Garden.

To hear the full report, click the link above.

*A previous version of this post linked to the wrong Forbes list. The link has been updated above.

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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