Helping small businesses grow.

About

The South Haven Region Business Hub is the result of caring professionals with successful business careers coming together to foster a new strategy that seeks to capitalize on promising small business formation rates after a decade of stagnation; that seeks to play a role in local economic development strategies designed to foster year around economic growth activity; and to assure the strategy reaches, in particular, the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to provide the tools for them to build wealth.

Mission

Making the South Haven Region a place where entrepreneurs want to start and grow.

Guiding Principles

Combining collective knowledge, connections, and resources of the community, creating initiatives, and partnerships for ALL our local entrepreneurs.

Partners and supporters include the City of South Haven, South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake Michigan College, Market Van Buren, Van Buren Township, Manufacturing Growth Alliance, Michigan State University Agriculture Extension, MEDC, Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance, and SBDC Michigan.

Activities and Accomplishments

Workshop Series for Startups/Early Startups 2022

  • Simple Steps to start Your Business
  • Small Business Roundtable #1
  • Business Model Canvas
  • Attract, Retain & Train Employees
  • Accounting Basics
  • Marketing 101
  • Meet the Funders

Growth Series for Businesses Looking to Scale 2023

  • Introduction to Growth Series
  • Your Financials and How to Conduct an In-depth Review
  • Human Resources and Tax Liabilities
  • Developing Your Customer Strategy for Your Product Mix
  • Developing Your Internal Processes for Consistency and Success
  • Legal Aspects of Running a Business

Community Wide Roundtable Discussions

  • Launchpad for local small business owners to discuss the wins (and challenges) of owning a small business.
  • Learn how to overcome obstacles from others
  • Make an impact with your input
  • Share and minimize your challenges

Clients successes with South Haven Region Business Hub programming include:

Startup Successes

  • A farmer in rural Bangor wants to become USDA Certified.
  • A mattress retailer is relocating to South Haven.
  • An HVAC contractor from Bangor is  launching soon.
  • A couple from Wisconsin are opening a bed & breakfast and winery in South Haven.
  • A young entrepreneur is in the process of raising funds for a South Haven hostel.
  • An accounting firm has launched in South Haven and is serving multiple clients.
  • Local and regional partners referred more than 17 people to the workshops.

Growth Successes

  • A mentor has been assigned to a couple who have begun a recycling plant and are looking to grow and hire 8 new employees.
  • A South Haven business owner is preparing to scale his development business in multiple locations while working with a mentor.
  • 12 local business service providers served as presenters/moderators.
  • A business group has been established on Facebook for confidential discussions.
  • The Growth Series, a 14-week intensive business growth program is launched.
  • 12 volunteers serve as one-on-one mentors and financial consultants.

Funding for Growth

One of the major hurdles for startups is access to capital. In May 2022 the Lakeshore Capital Consortium was initiated based on a best practice from the City of Philadelphia. The goal was to create a point of access for those struggling to find funding that created a one-stop pre-application for lenders. We are calling it a lending triage, comparing it to an emergency room where multiple lenders would be able to view a business’s request for lending and create solutions for entrepreneurs rather than barriers.

Our goal was to expand a strong startup community and build the reputation of being small business friendly and becoming a place where startups know they are supported. An initial cohort of 7 financial institutions, including an array of local banks, credit unions, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and others have pledged to participate in the Capital Consortium program.

An additional goal of the Lakeshore Capital Consortium was to identify gaps in the funding ecosystem. The gap is in the lack of capital for start-up organizations—especially those with no down payment, little to no collateral, or a low credit score. CDFI’s and several local lenders have stepped in to fill this gap but more needs to be done.

The next year will be spent identifying strategies to mitigate barriers and expand the tools needed to fill gaps in the funding ecosystem.

Our Partners

Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance

Michigan Small Business Development Center

The Michigan Small Business Development Center offers expert assistance at no cost to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a business.

WMed Innovation Center

The WMed Innovation Center is the place to start and grow life science, technology, or engineering ventures.

SCORE Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan

Starting and growing a small business can be challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Thank you so much for the help. This wouldn’t have been possible without you. Am very grateful for your help and support and all the encouragement and positive vibes. God bless you!

—Isa Clark

I appreciate all that you do to support small businesses in the region. You are knocking it out of the park!

—Sonja A. Dean, Senior Program Officer, LISC

Thank you so much for your help and direction! Thank you so much for always being here for me to help, motivate, direct, and encourage me. Underground Hu$tle would really be nonexistent if it weren’t for you!  Thank you so much for being you and everything you continue to do.

—Jäquil Short

We look forward to seeing more programing and resources from the South Haven Region Business Hub.

—Josh Musinski, Water and Wheat, Vegan Chef Crafted Creations

WE GOT APPROVED FOR OUR NEW RESTAURANT!!! I can’t thank you enough for your guidance, mentorship, expertise, and motivation. We greatly appreciate your efforts towards the growth of Fruit Street Kitchen!

—Mo’Nique Crowley, Fruit Street Kitchen

Thank you for all your help as always I can’t sing your praises enough.

—Brent Wedding, Business Banking Relationship Manager, PNC Bank

I do appreciate your help with all my heart and am not particularly sure how to express the gratitude that dwells in my heart right now. Thank you and may you be blessed always!

—Isa Clark, Clark Special Kitchen

Can’t thank you enough for being at my presentation this morning. I’m so thankful for absolutely everything you have done for me and The Donut Cart thus far. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!

—Amber Gille, Realtor, The Donut Cart

Thank you so much; I knew when I met you, you were like an angel. I appreciate you so much and I won’t let you down. Your hard work in what you are doing in the community is appreciated.

—Jamie Bigby, Entrepreneur

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing so much information. I look forward to being able to be involved in this great networking experience. I really will call on your assistance for help with this Business Plan.

—Joanna Partee, Silver Fox Assistant, LLC

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South Haven Region Business Hub - A partnership between the City of South Haven, the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce, and Lake Michigan College. Powered by the South Haven Community Foundation.