Helping small businesses grow.

Success Stories

The Synergy Health Center

My business, The Synergy Health Center, was started in 2004 when I saw a need in our community to provide culturally sensitive mental health and substance abuse services. It has been over 12 years since that initial desire and we have since grown into a impactful organization reaching the less fortunate and brought hope back into peoples’ lives.

My successes

When I first started this agency, I measured success in terms of financial profit. Over the years we have purchased our own facility, made new partnerships and gained new contracts. As I’ve grown and learned that financial sustainability is definitely important but not the most important. My perspective of success is now measured by the number of lives our agency can touch. When people can be made stronger, families can be healthier, the quality of our neighborhoods improve, so this is how I measure success. Our motto, “Transforming Lives One by One”; that is success.

How SCORE helped

SCORE has been instrumental in connecting me to a mentor who is a good fit for our business. My mentor has helped to analysis areas of strength and areas needing improvement and helping to keep me focused on the goals ahead for the organization.

What’s great about my mentor?

I have found my mentor’s personality to be one that is very inspiring and supportive and I felt a connection of mutual respect from the first day I met her. She is always encouraging and I think she goes the extra mile for me. I look forward to her words at the end of each email that speaks volumes to me to “Keep moving forward!”

woman in suit

Sponsored by the City of South Haven, South Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Lake Michigan College.

Congratulations to Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry for receiving his first loan through Northern Initiatives. With help from his SCORE mentor, Cheri Bales, Gregory did a fantastic job on developing his business plan and showing real entrepreneurial spirit. We wish you much success, and look forward to your upward movement. You are a wonderful role model.

—Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry

I appreciate your ears for listening, your eyes that see my vision and your heart that makes you who you are.  I thank you for your time. You are making a difference.

—Shawntel Lindsey, Director, The Artbor Community Connections Center

The WMed Innovation Center is a perfect environment for innovation to grow and become a successful commercial enterprise.


WMU Business Connection logo

Whether you are seeking a research partner or want to enlist the help of student groups in developing business plans, or just looking for ways to engage with WMU, the Business Connection office can find the resource to help move your business forward.


A loan (from Local Initiatives Support Corporation) helped expand our cafe to triple our seating, add a kids space, increase much needed staff work areas, and make other improvements to the space.


MEL logo

The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) is the State of Michigan’s digital library. It has excellent resources available to Michigan residents at no cost.


Western Michigan University’s Starting Gate helped me take an idea and transform it into a much more attainable reality. Whether providing talks with investors and business owners or accountability, the ultimate goal is helping your business succeed.

—Peter Shutt

Kalamazoo County Land Bank logo

The Kalamazoo Land Bank did robust community engagement around the vision and gave us something to work with that was solidly desired by people in the neighborhood. Having a vision meant we had to protect it. That’s something I thank the Land Bank for. It was difficult. It didn’t make anything faster or easier, but we got a better project in the end as a result of it.

—Matt Hollander

Buy Local logo

Buy Local Greater Kalamazoo is a hard working grassroots group focused on the greater Kalamazoo community and its small businesses. Their events and networking opportunities are the best!

—Cheri Bales

SBDC logo

Michigan SBDC is a great company providing top notch service to local businesses all over Michigan. The consultants are professional and the student workers contribute with excellent work!

—Martin Herman Sorensen