HOUGHTON — 2014 proved to be a very successful year for the MTEC SmartZone.

The local business incubator announced this week that they created 83 jobs last year. They were also recognized by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the milestone.

CEO Marilyn Clark says she is very pleased with the results.

“Our growth plan of companies that have been started in the past has far exceeded our projections. So most of the growth of the 83 jobs are really local companies that have added more employees,” Clark said.

One of those companies that have benefited this year is ThermoAnalytics, and they feel the relationship with the SmartZone has allowed them to experience very positive job growth.

“The time in the SmartZone allowed us to manage our growth in a way that did not disrupt our production of our core product line,” Michael Young of ThermoAnalytics said.

One of the most important programs within the SmartZone is the SmartStart program, which gives younger companies access to things like business counseling and office space. Many entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the opportunity.

“Starting any business is a leap of faith. There’s a lot of things that you think you do know and there’s things you don’t know. Things you are going to step into that you can easily need some guidance with. The SmartZone is a good place to get started,” Terance McNinch of PublicWorksTraining.com said.

This past year saw two companies graduate from their program and the establishment of a satellite SmartZone in Marquette is already in the works. But the most important aspect of this program is to make sure MTU graduates stay in the Copper Country.

“So our opportunity for being a viable community is keeping those smart people here, creating jobs for other people in the community and to live and work here,” said Clark.

Since 2002, the SmartZone has created over 500 jobs locally and has received many shout–outs from Governor Rick Snyder. And a brighter 2015 is the expectation of all the people involved at the MTEC SmartZone.