Funding for your West Michigan startup or small business should be avoided. Taking on debt or giving up equity in your business early on when there is so much fluidity in where your business will go, can easily lead to problems. If you take on debt in order to develop your startup idea, what happens when you learn there is no market for your product or service? You are left with debt and in need of time to pivot your startup. With that said, there is a definite need for funding at times. West Michigan is about to be infused with another option to receive this needed funding.
Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, more commonly known as GROW, offers business owners (and not just women) various resources including business education classes, networking opportunities, connections to other business owners and other business counseling services. Last year GROW started offering another service. After receiving $200,000 from the US Small Business Administration, GROW began offering microloans to startups and small businesses in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo, Montcalm, Ionia, Barry, Allegan and Kalamazoo counties. So far, GROW has loaned 15 loans totaling $153,121 to 10 small businesses.
GROW announced recently that because of the success of the program, they anticipate they will receive “substantially more” than the $200,000 they received last summer to launch the microloan program. The program is likely to remain the same and have a cap of $50,000 to the amount that can be loaned out but the increased amount will allow them to be more active with the program and expand it to more area business owners.
This GROW microloan program is great for small businesses and startups. Most small businesses and startups don’t need a ton of money to launch. The idea should be developed. The market should be known. The team should be in place. The funding should be a push to get the business rolling. These businesses need just enough funding to get the cash flow underway so the business can be self-sustaining. Some businesses do not need any funding to get that ball rolling. And there are some that are going to need multiple capital infusions. Those startups and small businesses know who they are and are working in their own programs and business models.
An experienced small business counselor can help you identify your business’ needs and what program works best for you. They make sure you need the funding and that you have a solid plan for that funding before you go asking for it too. GROW offers these services but there are other options that might fit you better too. The big thing is to get out there and look for all the help you can get.
Source: “Micro-loan program to expand scope with additional SBA funds” by Mark Sanchez of MiBiz