The Northern Great Lakes Initiative has received millions of dollars in federal funding to offer support—and up to $500,000 in loans—for small business owners and aspiring business owners.
LANSING—More than $120 million in federal funding was awarded this week by President Joe Biden’s administration to help underserved entrepreneurs launch and scale up their small businesses across the nation. And in Michigan, that’ll spell easier access to business loans.
Among the 43 recipients of the Capital Readiness Program awards competition: The Northern Great Lakes Initiative in Marquette, which provides loans to small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs who may not qualify for a small business loan through traditional banks.
The Upper Peninsula-based small business incubator is receiving a total of $3 million to create a new, streamlined process to help support entrepreneurs across Michigan—particularly those on the west side of the state, according to a press release sent this week from the White House.
The Northern Great Lakes Initiative is set to use the cash to help Michiganders see their small business plans to fruition—from an idea, through launch, to accessing more capital for growth. Officials said loans of up to $500,000 will be offered at “reasonable” interest rates to those who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance (or enough cash) to pursue their business dreams.
The funding was provided as part of Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and represents a key pillar of the White House’s “Bidenomics” plan to invest in small businesses and grow the middle class.
“President Biden and I firmly believe that for America’s economy to be strong, America’s small businesses must be strong,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement. “President Biden and I are fighting to ensure that every entrepreneur in America—no matter who they are or where they live—can access the capital to start or grow a business, create jobs, and thrive.”
In addition to the new awards program, more than $300 million in American Rescue Plan investments have already been announced or deployed through the Small Business Administration and the Department of Treasury, according to federal officials. That has led to nearly 13 million new business applications filed last year—the highest annual total on record.
That surge in new business applications has remained at historic levels in Michigan and across the US this year—with roughly 12,000 new business applications submitted by Michiganders each month this year, according to the US Census Bureau’s business formation data.
The Capital Readiness Program also marks the largest-ever direct federal investment in small business incubators of its kind. The program, which is administered by the Minority Business Development Agency, was made permanent as part of Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The other 42 organizations to receive awards include a mix of nonprofit and community-based organizations, private sector entities, and higher education institutions—all of which are forming partnerships to assist and train underserved entrepreneurs in nearly every state in the country.
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