Targeted support

to small businesses in the Greater Kalamazoo area

The region’s biggest and best entrepreneurial competition is back

The winner will receive $2,500 in cash and $5,000 worth of legal and marketing consulting.

  • Must sell an existing product for consumer purchase.
  • Must be a company owned and operated in Southwest Michigan.
  • Must have annual sales of $500,000 or less.

Applications for the Makers’ Mart can be submitted now through Sunday, November 7.

Candidates for consideration will be notified on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

A virtual community discussion featuring insights from Bronson on a Styrofoam Recycling program.

Whether you or your business have become a smooth-running mean-green machine, or you’re just getting to know the topic, Southwest Michigan First invites you to join a discussion with the local consortium of sustainability-focused businesses.

Competition Rules

Styrofoam Recycling with Bronson

A virtual community discussion featuring insights from Bronson on a Styrofoam Recycling program.

Whether you or your business have become a smooth-running mean-green machine, or you’re just getting to know the topic, Southwest Michigan First invites you to join a discussion with the local consortium of sustainability-focused businesses.

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.

SBDC Launches Self-Guided Comeback Kit

The Michigan SBDC launched a self-guided starting point for business owners looking to determine whether to continue with their business or close. This course is designed for Michigan small business owners and entrepreneurs who are working to come back from the impacts and effects of the pandemic.

This learning module will help small businesses to evaluate their financials, to understand where they are today, and to recognize what they need to do to get healthier tomorrow.

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.