MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – It’s no secret that part of the appeal of Marquette and the Upper Peninsula is the variety of year-round outdoor activities. As Innovate Marquette  SmartZone  (Innovate Marquette) launches its Entrepreneur in Residence program, it seems a natural fit that the inaugural resident be a serial entrepreneur in outdoor recreation and innovation. David Ollila, founder of Shophouse Park has been named the Entrepreneur in Residence.

According to Innovate Marquette, these programs are typical of business accelerators around the world. Residents in the program are seasoned veterans in their area of expertise and act as a mentor and specialist to their host organization and its accelerator clients.

Innovate Marquette is focused on the incubation and acceleration of business ideas in three key sectors:

  • Outdoor Innovation: Mobility & Accessibility in Recreation
  • Sustainable Technologies
  • Creative Technologies​

Ollila’s role as resident will focus on supporting the Outdoor Innovation sector.

“Marquette and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as a whole is well positioned to take a leadership role in the technological advancement of outdoor recreation and innovation,” said Joe Thiel, CEO of Innovate Marquette. “Now is the right time to bring Dave into the picture as we continue to build a premier outdoor recreation, mobility, and accessibility accelerator right here in Marquette. The addition of the EIR program is a huge asset to the existing companies we work with, and others out there who are seeking an accelerator with this level of specialty to help them break through to the next level of business success.”

Outdoor recreation is now a focus industry for the state because it is a big sector that is driven by innovations in materials, gear, powertrains, and production techniques,” said Brad Garmon, Executive Director of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office at MEDC. “I am excited to see the Upper Peninsula beginning to leverage its amazing outdoor assets as proving grounds for new products and innovative business, as well as priceless playgrounds for people.”

David Ollila brings a decades-long career focused on outdoor recreation and direct entrepreneurial know-how to his role as entrepreneur in residence. Ollila has worked across public-private boundaries throughout Michigan and nationwide to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and acceleration. He aims to be a driver of the geographical distribution of opportunity.

“With Innovate Marquette we’re building assets in talent and infrastructure, and we’re building collaborative partnerships across the state to solidify our position as leaders in outdoor innovation and recreation,” said Ollila. “No other state has the two-peninsula advantage. For the U.P. to engage in the economic growth of Michigan the effort will require taking the best strengths from the U.P. – its outdoor recreation ideas and innovators – and connecting them to the engineers, designers, and institutions in the rest of our great state that put the world on wheels. It’s what I’m here to do.” 

To learn more about Innovate Marquette, check out https://innovatemarquette.org/.