Why Greater Grand Rapids

Funding Resources for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

A list of funding resources available to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Michigan


Crowdfunding is a way to raise money by collecting donations through family, friends, friends of friends, strangers, businesses, and more. By using social media to spread awareness, people can reach more potential donors than traditional forms of fundraising. Find the best platform for your needs by comparing fees, features, support, and more at www.crowdfunding.com

Angel Investors

Affluent individuals and groups provide capital for a business start-up in exchange for debt or business equity. Angel investors usually give support to start-ups at the initial moments (where risks of the start-ups failing are relatively high) and when most investors are not prepared to back them. The following are links to angel investors who have interest in supporting business development in our region. Be sure to review their focus areas and guidelines for investing.

Venture Capital

Investors contribute capital in exchange for partial business ownership or debt repayment. Visit michiganvca.org/research/map for a listing of venture capital firms serving Michigan. The following are some funds that are seeking regional investment opportunities:

General Investors
Specific Industry Investors

Supported Loan Programs

Community Development Financial Institutions

Federally certified financial institutions provide credit and financial services to underserved markets and populations that may not be able to obtain traditional financing.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

State programs to help technology-centered businesses fund their start-up:

  • Invest Michigan Fund for technology-centered businesses
  • Business Accelerator able to provide technology-centered businesses with professional services such as legal, engineering, etc. Visit link to locate a Smart Zone Business Accelerator.
  • Emerging Tech Fund for Michigan technology-based companies in the federal innovation research and development arena by providing match dollars (of up to $25,000 for Phase I and up to $125,000 for Phase II) to eligible Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) proposals
  • First Capital Fund provide 'genesis' funds (up to $150,000) to new technology companies at the earliest stages of commercialization
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)

Grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and promote expansion of value-added agriculture within the state. Learn more.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA RD)

Programs to provide capital, equipment, space, job training, and entrepreneurial skills that can help to start and/or grow a business and support the creation and preservation of quality jobs in rural areas (population under 50,000). The following links can provide information about direct business programs available through USDA-RD:

Great Lakes Energy Economic Development

Loan programs providing supplemental project financing in partnership with financial institution, including Revolving Loan Fund loan and Zero-Interest loan. Great Lakes Energy customer status not required. Learn more.

Small Business Administration

Community Development Corporations (CDCs) offer loans and guarantees to lending institutions to fund small businesses. Use the SBA lender match program at sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/lender-match to find lenders that offer the following SBA loans:

  • 504 Program - Loan Structure: 10 – 20 year term loan; 10% borrower equity, 40% CDC funds, 50% bank funds; Funds can be used to: Purchase land; Purchase existing buildings; Purchase long-term machinery and equipment; Purchase improvements (including grading, street improvements, utilities, parking lots and landscaping); Build new facilities or modernize, renovate or convert existing facilities.
  • 7(a) Program - Guaranty provided to bank for land, equipment capital, or debt refinancing loans for higher risk start ups; $5M loan max

Contact a Local CDC to learn more:

Banks and Credit Unions

With traditional financing, a business loan proposal will be evaluated on Relationship, Management Ability, Collateral, Owner’s equity, Cash Flow, Credit history. Visit with a loan professional at the banking institution with whom you have built a relationship to start the loan qualification process.

Regional Entrepreneurial Competitions

The following organizations offer entrepreneurs that opportunity to pitch their business idea in a competitive format for the chance to win prize money and business support services:

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