We work together to provide (targeted) support to small businesses in the Greater Kalamazoo area.
Alliances among resources assures that support is made available to local small businesses so they become major employers in Greater Kalamazoo Organizational structure: Informal, no nonprofit status necessary currently. By meeting regularly we keep all our members/partners current and up-do-date while trying to break through some of the challenges that our small businesses encounter.
The Greater Kalamazoo Business Resource Network (GKBRN) is an informal consortium started in January 2017 to address the ecosystem gaps in Kalamazoo for micro and small business. The mission of the GKBRN is: “Helping Business connect to the resources needed to plan, start and thrive in Kalamazoo.”
There currently are more than 16 local nonprofit organizations and public institutions participating in the GKBRN group with the anchor partners being: Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Western Michigan University Innovation Center, SCORE, Can Do Kitchen, Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), City of Kalamazoo Planning and Economic Development, Southwest Michigan First Chamber and the WMed Innovation Center.
An additional goal of the Capital Consortium was to identify gaps in the funding ecosystem. The gaps identified through the year are lack of capital for start-up organizations, especially those with no down payment, collateral or low credit SCORE. Our CDFI’s and the City have stepped in to fill this gap but more needs to be done.
The next year will be spent identifying strategies to mitigate barriers and expand the tools needed to fill gaps in the funding ecosystem.