In recent years, there has been a rise in women-owned businesses in Michigan. A 2019 report from American Express found that women-owned businesses continue to trend above all businesses with Michigan as the state with the largest growth of women-owned firms. And thanks to the Small Business Administration (SBA)Women’s Business Centers located in Michigan there are a number of resources available to women in Bay County and throughout the state who wish to succeed as entrepreneurs, small business owners, and leaders who continue to strengthen Michigan’s workforce.
The Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, a nonprofit for women businesses in Michigan that provides access to capital, certification, contracting opportunities, and educational support. GROW (Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women) helps residents of Michigan make connections with mentors, business coaches, counselors, and successful business leaders to serve as a professional network.
GROW also provides professional advice to help new business owners understand the realities of business ownership as well as comprehensive services that support business assessment, planning, training and education. The Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance also provides training and resources needed for entrepreneurs to open their own business; innovative classes and workshops designed for small business owners; as well as best-practices and tools small businesses need to compete and grow in the current fast-paced marketplace.
There are also a number of loans and grants available to women-owned businesses in Michigan. Great Lakes Women’s Business Council’s CEED Lending is an initiative which provides business expansion financing and small business loans that are partnered with technical assistance services for business owners. The Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance offers SBA microloans to for-profit businesses in need of small scale financing for items such as working capital, inventory, machinery or equipment, from $500 up to $50,000. And Michigan Woman Forward (MWF) provides funding like their WomanUp business pitch program for starting a company and finding investors, microloans of up to $50,000 for female entrepreneurs, including those with limited or no credit, capital raising programs, and more.
“We need to continue investing in Michigan women who bring profound diversity of lived experiences and expertise to all aspects of civic, economic, cultural and social development throughout our state.” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer during the statewide Women’s Economic Recovery Tour, hosted by the Michigan Women’s Commission. The tour is a year-long effort to connect more Michigan women to new economic opportunities as well as celebrate and highlight the progress Michigan has made towards investing opportunities for women to thrive in the workforce.