History

  • 2012 - Community focus groups were conducted to address concerns about the opening of Eagle Mine, a new nickel and copper mine in Marquette County, Michigan.  The mine would create several hundred jobs during its operation (2014 to 2025), but these positions would be eliminated at the time of the mine’s closure. This could have a negative impact on the local job market and the economic vitality of the community. The intent of the focus groups was to solicit feedback from local stakeholders on strategies to support the economic vitality of the community post mine closure. One outcome of this feedback was the decision to implement a community initiative to support the development of entrepreneurial start-ups and small businesses, which would create more jobs and enhance the economic outlook for the region.

 

  • 2012 - Key stakeholders in the community researched and implemented a community engagement initiative, originally based on an innovative grassroots approach to economic development, created by Dr. Ernesto Sirolli, and later enhanced by SEF Canada. This model incorporates a “Facilitator” and volunteer “Resource Team” of community business partners to support the formation and expansion of new and existing businesses in Marquette County.

 

  • 2013 - This community initiative was formalized through the creation of Accelerate UP, as a 501(c)6 non-profit corporation.

 

  • 2016 - Recognizing the value of the program, Eagle Mine extended the funding agreement with Accelerate UP through 2025.

 

  • 2018 - The Lundin Foundation commissioned a scoping study with the University of Wisconsin-Stout Applied Research Center to analyze the effectiveness of Accelerate UP. The results of the assessment can be found here.