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Expanded loans up to $15,000; grace periods between 1 and 6 months. Learn more.
Small businesses reap benefits from the support of organizations such as the GKBR.
We can connect you to resources for any season of your business.
Small businesses thrive in Kalamazoo, which boasts a vibrant downtown scene.

Gatherings and Face Mask Order

January 13, 2021

Michigan law imposes on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) a duty to continually and diligently endeavor to “prevent disease, prolong life, and promote public health,” and gives the Department “general supervision of the interests of the health and life of the people of this state.” MCL 333.2221. MDHHS may “[e]xercise authority and promulgate rules to safeguard properly the public health; to prevent the spread of diseases and the existence of sources of contamination; and to implement and carry out the powers and duties vested by law in the department.” MCL 333.2226(d).

Learn more

MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order Allows Indoor Group Exercise, Non-Contact Sports

January 13, 2021Gatherings remain limited, group exercise and non-contact sports now open to support mental and physical health

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its epidemic order today to allow re-opening of additional activities where Michiganders can remain masked and socially distanced, as this has been scientifically shown to slow the virus. This includes indoor group exercise and non-contact sports. The new order is effective Saturday, Jan. 16 and will last until Sunday, Jan. 31.

Learn more

Michigan Small Business Survival Grant

In an effort to continue to support small businesses, the Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program will provide funding to eligible small businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the Gatherings and Mask Order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service on December 7, 2020 through December 20, 2020 and the order taking effect on November 18, 2020 that it rescinded and replaced.

How to Prepare to Apply

PPP Round Two and What it Means for You

Congress recently passed an end-of-year relief package that included a new and improved round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. If you are curious about what has been changed from the first round, and how those changes affect you, here’s a brief summary of what you need to know.

Read the summary

LISC Rural Relief Small Business Grants

Only small businesses located in rural communities are eligible at this time. Rural communities are defined as having a population of 50,000 or less. The next grant application period opens on Jan. 26, 2021 and runs through Feb. 2, 2021

Find out if you’re eligible

MWF’s WomanUp & Pitch

Michigan Women Forward’s WomanUp & Pitch brings together 30 women entrepreneurs from across the state to pitch their business ideas and win cash prizes. Watch as each of 30 competition finalists pitches her business idea to a team of judges, and vote for your favorite! Mark these dates on your calendar so you don’t miss it:

  • Grand Rapids Pitch Competition: January 28
  • Jackson Pitch Competition: February 4
  • Detroit Pitch Competition: February 16

All pitch competitions will be virtual and free and will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Register for the event

Paycheck Protection Program Opens Week of January 11

Today, the SBA announced details on Round 2 of the Paycheck Protection Program.

To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders “shortly thereafter.”

More details, application and lender list

Southwest Michigan PTAC 2021 Class Schedule

The Southwest Michigan PTAC team is ready to assist you with your government contracting needs. During our temporary office closure please contact our team using the information below:

Check out our 2021 Class Listing

PMBC Access and Certification Grant

The PMBC Access and Certification Grant is designed to break down barriers preventing Michigan businesses from winning purchase orders.

The program has three objectives:

  • Increase supplier access to local and global procurement opportunities
  • Improve competitiveness in advanced manufacturing for Michigan small businesses
  • Enhance supplier capabilities and open doors to new industry verticals
Complete the form

Federal funding for eligible businesses

With federal funding made available through the City of Kalamazoo, United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region is partnering to provide immediate grant support to businesses hardest hit by COVID-19 for costs related to health and human safety.

Beginning Dec. 7, 2020, eligible businesses may apply for a Kalamazoo Small Business Health Protection Grant, a reimbursement of up to $2,500 for expenses including PPE (personal protective equipment) or other costs incurred in pursuit of the general preservation of health and human safety.

Expenses must be dated from April 1, 2020 until present. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information contact:

Learn more

Update to MDHHS Epidemic Orders; Indoor Dining Still Prohibited

Today Governor Whitmer announced an update of MDHHS epidemic orders, effective Monday, Dec. 21 until Friday, Jan. 15.

  • Indoor dining in bars and restaurants is still prohibited, but they can continue to offer outdoor dining, carry-out, and delivery.
  • Casinos, bowling centers and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen with total capacity capped at 100; food and drink concessions closed; and social distancing requirements in place.
  • Gyms remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place.
  • Outdoor group fitness and outdoor non-contact sports will again be allowed, including running, downhill and cross-country skiing.
  • Employees who can work from home should continue to do so.
  • Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households.

Make Connections

Find local business owners and resources that will help you advance your business.

Success Stories

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Global Clinical Connections

Headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Global Clinical Connections is an international provider of clinical supply chain management services for compan
woman with cold brew coffee business

Mamaleelu Cold Brew

Maliesha's passion and mission for Mamaleelu Cold Brew’s future is to highlight her brand as a black-woman-owned food brand in a highly competitive...
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Colors and Cocktails

When you consider all that Lauren Parker Lasater has done in the last 10 or so years, you would think she would be exhausted and just looking for ...

AureoGen Biosciences

A license agreement with Merck & Co gave exclusive rights to use the chemistry and derivatives of an antifungal compound to produce a compound…

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People are talking about our partners.

  • The WMed Innovation Center is a perfect environment for innovation to grow and become a successful commercial enterprise.
    Client, WMed Innovation Center
  • WMU Business Connection logoWhether you are seeking a research partner or want to enlist the help of student groups in developing business plans, or just looking for ways to engage with WMU, the Business Connection office can find the resource to help move your business forward.
    Mentor, SCORE Kalamazoo
  • LISC logoA loan (from Local Initiatives Support Corporation) helped expand our cafe to triple our seating, add a kids space, increase much needed staff work areas, and make other improvements to the space.
    Krystal, Fido Motors Cafe
  • MEL logo
    The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) is the State of Michigan's digital library. It has excellent resources available to Michigan residents at no cost.
    Owner, Michigan Small Business
  • Western Michigan University's Starting Gate helped me take an idea and transform it into a much more attainable reality. Whether providing talks with investors and business owners or accountability, the ultimate goal is helping your business succeed.  
    Peter Shutt, Science Cafe
  • Kalamazoo County Land Bank logo
    The [Kalamazoo] Land Bank did robust community engagement around the vision and gave us something to work with that was solidly desired by people in the neighborhood. Having a vision meant we had to protect it. That’s something I thank the Land Bank for. It was difficult. It didn’t make anything faster or easier, but we got a better project in the end as a result of it.
    Matt Hollander, President of Hollander Development Corp.
  • Buy Local Greater Kalamazoo is a hard working grassroots group focused on the greater Kalamazoo community and its small businesses. Their events and networking opportunities are the best!  
  • SBDC logo Michigan SBDC is a great company providing top notch service to local businesses all over Michigan. The consultants are professional and the student workers contribute with excellent work!
    Martin Herman Sorensen, SBDC Client
  • If you have any questions about starting, growing, or anything business related SCORE Kalamazoo/SW Michigan is a great resource.
    Taylor Kallio, Kalamazoo Aerial Media

  • The Fetzer Center has anything you could ever want for any occasion. The facilities are beautiful, the food is great and the staff is excellent! I have hosted an event and been to an event at the Fetzer and both experiences have been excellent. Mary does a marvelous job!
    Diane Holmes, Fetzer Center Client