Targeted support to small businesses in Greater Kalamazoo

Success starts here

Have you heard about the Emerge Incubator?

This year’s incubator will be held online on December 18-19, 2021.

Emerge is a program for new small business owners and for individuals dreaming of starting a business in the Greater Southwest Michigan area. The goal is to elevate small businesses who are community and social-enterprise minded. Start your business with guided lessons, mentors, and more.

If you would like to apply for the upcoming online incubator email Princella@PrincellaStringer.com before December 13.

Get Into the Thanksgiving Spirit with All This Good News

Interested in taking your own business idea to the next level? Apply for the February cohort of First Path!

This program is for you if you fit at least one of the following descriptions:

  • I am someone who has a business ideaeither fully formed or just starting to take shapeand want to…
    • have accountability to get my idea launched.
    • brainstorm my idea and see if it is the path I should follow.
    • define and/or redefine my business idea.
  • I am someone who already has a business and want to…
    • take the next step in my start-up business journey.
    • pivot and shift my focus into other avenues.
    • expand my current offerings and try something new.

Business First – What Does Southwest Michigan First Do?

Thursday, December 9

What does economic development really mean, and what do we do here at Southwest Michigan First? As a regional economic development organization, we have the opportunity to work with many businesses across our seven-county region of Southwest Michigan.

Since our team is able to work with so many businesses, it can sometimes be confusing what we actually do! On this call, our team will highlight the business services our organization offers including, but not limited to, our bread and butter: Economic Development. We will also touch on other focuses of the organization like small business and entrepreneurial efforts, including the Chamber, talent, and Leadership Programming.

MIX Innovation Celebration and Creative Crash

Wednesday, December 8

At this event, we will celebrate the winners of Western Michigan University (WMU)’s Innovation Expo Competition. The top three winning teams will kick off the event with their presentations on products created through a solution-based approach. This is a great opportunity to meet students that have the talent local organizations need!

In addition, the Creative Crash portion will celebrate Southwest Michigan’s legacy of innovation with a parade of products imagined and launched by amazing designers and companies in our community. We have a few surprises in store and, of course, our favorite things: craft beer, music, appetizers, and networking with local designers and innovators.

Supplier Match Making Event

Wednesday, December 15

Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) is partnering with the Detroit Regional Chamber to host a virtual buyer-supplier matchmaking event on Wednesday, December 15 as a part of the DRC Racial Justice and Economic Equity (RJEE) initiative aimed at helping small, medium and large Michigan diversity-owned businesses succeed.

The event will provide suppliers an opportunity to learn how they can access procurement opportunities with banking/financial services organizations in the state, along with resources available through diversity and economic development partners.

Buyers include: Comerica Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Huntington Bank and Rock Central

Suppliers interested in meeting with buyers in one-on-one meetings to discuss procurement opportunities should submit an application by November 30.

Is your business digital-ready?

Our online curriculum is designed to give small businesses like yours the personalized tools to succeed in today’s digital world. Learning modules, expert coaching, peer networking and more—it’s all here, and it’s all part of our goal to provide resources to help one million small businesses thrive in the digital economy.

Sign up for our free online curriculum and move your business forward.

First Day Shoe Fund Fundraiser

First Day Shoe Fund provides new athletic shoes to elementary students at Kalamazoo County public schools. We believe all children should start school on equal footing.

This year’s Brews & Shoes is ON ICE at Wings Event Center during the Kalamazoo Wings Hockey Club game against the Tulsa Oilers on 12/31/21 (New Year’s Eve!).

City of Kalamazoo programs through the United Way

The City of Kalamazoo is still offering programs through United Way for small business owners. Click the buttons below to learn more about the programs and their eligibility requirements.

Small businesses in the City of Kalamazoo area may be eligible for reimbursement of up to $2,500 for health and human safety costs associated with COVID-19. Applications have reopened and grant funds can be used for COVID-19 related costs. For more information, contact Molly Trueblood.

S.T.E.M program

Michigan STEM Forward, a statewide program that matches students attending Michigan colleges with internship opportunities, is now accepting applications from companies & students to participate!

  • Up to 50% of the intern’s wages are matched
  • Company can be in any industry but all internships must be STEM-focused.

Southwest Michigan PTAC 2021 Class Schedule

The Southwest Michigan PTAC team is ready to assist you with your government contracting needs.

This training is available to businesses in Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties of Southwest Michigan.

Make Connections

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

Fund

Find capital resources for new, growing, or troubled businesses.

Grow

How to take your business to the next level. Learn how to grow your business.

Mentoring

Free advice for business owners. Find your mentor through our network.

Plan

Resources to help you develop a business and marketing plan.

Research

Sources for primary and secondary research about your business market.

Start

Get solid advice for launching a new business or idea.