Marquette, Michigan is a maritime city nestled along Lake Superior’s southern shoreline at the foothills of the Huron Mountains. Known as the “Queen City of the North” since its days as a bustling trade and shipping port, Marquette is the largest city in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with a population of 20,000.
Home to a state-of-the-art hospital and medical campus, a regional airport, Northern Michigan University, growing opportunity in the digital economy, and a reputation for world-class outdoor adventure, Marquette is leading a rural resurgence in the upper Great Lakes.
- Innovate Marquette Smartzone — one of 21 SmartZones created by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to cultivate technology growth — is creating a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem and supporting tech-based and tech-enabled entrepreneurs, innovators, and start-ups. Their work, which is done in partnership with Northern Michigan University and other local economic development organizations, has gained Marquette traction as a rural mecca for innovation and entrepreneurship
- Northern Michigan University is a regional comprehensive institution that has earned distinction through innovative programs, accessibility, and academic excellence, combined with an authentic collegiate experience that prepares students for success in the 21st century economy.With a strategic focus on “investing in innovation,” Northern Michigan has built a reputation as a first-mover in digital access and educational technology. In 2017, the university launched its nationally-recognized Education Access Network, an LTE network that now serves over 70 previously unserved or underserved communities in the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin.Northern values partnership and collaboration in support of regional prosperity. With over 170 degree programs, it prepares students for success in careers, including those in high-demand and emerging sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, sustainability, and cybersecurity.In 2019, Northern established the U.P. Cyber Security Institute, the only hub on the Michigan Cyber Range north of Grand Rapids. The same year, Northern convened the only cybersecurity- and IT-focused consortium that was awarded funding through the state of Michigan’s Marshall Plan for Talent. In 2020, the university launched the NMU Center for Rural Health and SISU, an institute for innovation and transformational education.
What RIN means to Marquette
“The Rural Innovation Network has brought immense value in connecting us to a broader network of passionate and talented individuals who recognize the potential in our nation's rural communities.”
Nicole Johnson, Innovate Marquette SmartZone
Explore our Network
Today, these local leaders are focused on educating and training local residents in digital skills (especially those traditionally excluded from the tech industry), employing them in new economy jobs, and empowering them to launch startups that will drive a prosperous 21st-century economy. Diverse in geography, economic origin, and demographics, these communities represent the full spectrum of rural America.