Venture North Funding and Development, based in Traverse City and the Alliance for Economic Success in Manistee have entered into a working agreement to collaborate in promoting business and job growth in the Manistee County area using economic development funding sources managed by Venture North.
The goal of Venture North is to support and fund businesses in order to grow regional prosperity in a ten county area extending from Manistee County north through Emmet County. It was created in 2014 through a merger of the Traverse City Area Chamber Foundation and the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation to form one 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. The goal of the Alliance for Economic Success (AES) is to support economic and community development in the Manistee County area through programs involving business and job development, community planning and development and resource development. Created in 2008, the AES is also a 501 (c) (3) organization.
Venture North, directed by Laura Galbraith, manages a portfolio of five funding sources that collectively hold approximately $5 million for loans to develop businesses and jobs, support energy efficiency and cost savings, and provide a source of capital to small businesses in need of micro loans. Their funding sources include the USDA Rural Development, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and others.
“The Agreement with AES provides goals for collaboration in putting our funds to work in the southwestern corner of the region we cover,” said Galbraith. “AES staff will become trained in prequalifying businesses for our financing and will assist us in resource development to help build our funding and infrastructure base to benefit the Manistee County area and our entire region. Based on their prequalification work, we will strive to offer financing that is flexible to meet strategic needs of businesses. Our intent is to compliment and not compete with banks or similar financial institutions. Instead, our goal is use our financing capability to fill gaps, provide flexibility and offer assistance where banks need a partner to make a deal work.”
Galbraith said that she and the AES have identified three significant financing opportunities since their collaboration began about one month ago. To date, Venture North has made 44 loans of over $2.1 million, creating 130 jobs in diverse business sectors.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to leverage the capabilities of our collective organizations,” said Betsy Evans, who will be the primary AES contact who will prequalify Venture North prospects. “It provides a range of flexible financing tools that can support businesses of any size. It’s good for businesses within the area served by AES and the entire northwest Michigan region.”
Evans can be reached at 231-723-4325 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.