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Battle Creek is open for business.In Battle Creek, Michigan, a team of local, regional and national experts are accelerating the focus on economic development. With collaboration already underway, this team will tap into the local resources of our public, private and philanthropic sectors. The common goal? To create a vibrant economic climate in Battle Creek – a place where all children and their families can thrive.In surveys and community meetings as part of BCVision, the people of Battle Creek said that creating quality jobs and small business development were top priorities. Their feedback is aligned with national experts who state: Two out of three new jobs in the U.S. are created by small businesses. Battle Creek needs to ramp up our support of the creativity and industry of local businesses and entrepreneurs.What’s different?Collaboration is the driver, but new and growing businesses need access to capital.That’s why the leading edge of this community-wide effort is the $10 million Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund established by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. With a $1 million kickoff investment and major contributions from the Kellogg Company, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) and The Miller Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation is matching local investments 2:1. If you’re interested in20 SCENE 4307 I ANNUAL REPORT CARDbecoming an investor, please contact Terri Govern from Northern Initiatives at: tgovern@northernini- or (906 226-1670).Northern Initiatives, a 25-year-old community development financial institution, will manage the fund from a soon-to-be opened office in downtown Battle Creek staffed by a business developer and loan officer on site. Interested business owners and entrepreneurs can connect with Northern Initiatives by reaching out to Melissa Evans (231-375-9867) and Venard Roberson (616-329-6188). Venard and Melissa will be in Battle Creek on July 3, 10, 18 and 25. Their office is located on the Mezzanine level of2 West Michigan Ave. Beginning August 1, Northern Initiatives will have full-time staff available inthe office.What if I want to start a business?Start-up support and the technical assistance to bring businesses to scale are just as important as capital. While we have local partners who are working in collaboration with Northern Initiatives to support small business development, we also realize that many of our community members need help with actualizing their ideas. A Request for Proposals will be released July 5, seeking an organization to provide support and resources to local entrepreneurs in developing business ideas.

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