Battle Creek is getting a $10 million dollar boost from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to support the growth of small businesses.  The news was announced at a BCVision Steering Committee meeting today.  The Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund is a nice boost toward BCVision’s economic development efforts. The locally-designed and locally-supported fund will increase access to capital for Battle Creek entrepreneurs and new businesses for the city.

 

The first million dollars for the fund is coming from the WKKF, and it will match local investments 2:1, up to $10 million.  The effort is already two-thirds of the way there.  Major contributions from the Kellogg Company, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) and The Miller Foundation already total $1.8 million. With the 2:1 match for local contributions and the $1 million, the Battle Creek’s Small Business Loan Fund is $6.4 million to date.

In a release, WKKF’s president and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron said,

 “We are committed to accelerating transformation in Battle Creek so that all children will thrive. Creating a vibrant economic climate is critical to changing conditions and that requires all of us to concentrate efforts and speed up the process.  The Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund will provide the capital and technical assistance that can spark small business development and help local entrepreneurs scale up.”

The new fund will be managed by Northern Initiatives, a 25-year-old community development financial institution that awarded its 1,000th loan last year, and originated $60 million in loans throughout its history, creating more than 4,000 jobs.  One-third of their loans have been to start-ups, one-third to women-owned businesses and 73 percent have been directed to Michigan’s underserved communities. Northern Initiatives will open an office in downtown Battle Creek, and hire a local business developer and loan officer.

For details on how to apply for a loan with Battle Creek’s Small Business Fund, please contact Northern Initiatives’ Melissa Evans at 231.375.9867 or Venard Roberson at 616.329.6188 or info@northerninitiatives.org.

Learn more as members of the BCVision Steering Committee appear on Thursday's 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins at 8:08am.