Credit Union Small Business Financing Alliance Launches Training, Financing Program In Michigan

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Small businesses in Michigan now have a new resource to help them turn their big ideas and dreams into reality, and create jobs in the state. The Michigan Credit Union Small Business Financing Alliance (CUSBFA) is now open for business with a new website, http://www.cusbfa.com, that will help connect entrepreneurs and small businesses with training, while providing the tools to apply for the credit they need to get their business off the ground, or to expand their present enterprise.

Michigan is committed to creating a robust, supportive culture of entrepreneurship that will strengthen and diversify the state’s economy

Small businesses in Michigan now have a new resource to help them turn their big ideas and dreams into reality, and create jobs in the state. The Michigan Credit Union Small Business Financing Alliance (CUSBFA) is now open for business with a new website, http://www.cusbfa.com, that will help connect entrepreneurs and small businesses with training, while providing the tools to apply for the credit they need to get their business off the ground, or to expand their present enterprise.

In her February 3rd State of the State Address, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm outlined her vision for a new diversified Michigan economy and announced the pioneering partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Centers (MI-SBTDC), and the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL), with more than 30 Michigan credit unions committing an initial $43 million that will benefit more than 2,000 new businesses, with more expected to join throughout the year.

“We have to create in Michigan a new culture of self-reliance, entrepreneurship and small business leadership that grows new jobs,” said Granholm. “For Michigan’s new economy, we need innovators with a big idea or a shingle to hang, and this partnership between the state and credit unions will give them the tools to build and grow their businesses.”

MCUL president/CEO David Adams observed that banks have been forced to preserve capital to survive the economic crisis, freezing credit at a critical time when it’s needed most to help revive Michigan’s economy.

“As banks have had to cut back on credit in this tough economic climate, credit unions in our state actually increased small business lending in 2009 by nearly 20 percent,” said Adams. “Michigan’s credit unions, as not-for-profit cooperatives, have experienced strong growth and have the capital to help fund entrepreneurs and small business owners, and the online tools are now available to connect them with local credit unions to apply for the necessary funding to start or grow their business.”

According to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 98.4 percent of Michigan’s employer businesses, or more than two million people. From 1991 to 2005, businesses with fewer than five employees are the only group that has added new jobs to Michigan’s economy. From 2004 to 2005, small businesses had a net increase of 20,279 employees. Conversely, businesses with 20 or more employees had a net decrease of 102,430 people.

“Michigan is committed to creating a robust, supportive culture of entrepreneurship that will strengthen and diversify the state’s economy,” said Greg Main, Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO. “This partnership between the state and credit unions is a driving force in this effort, empowering small business owners and entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and helping them to succeed.”

A wide range of start-up and existing small business support services are available at low or no cost to participating businesses through twelve Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Centers around the state. The FastTrac NewVenture, a program of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, offers real world guidance to people who want to become entrepreneurs. During the ten-week course, entrepreneurs evaluate the feasibility of their business concept, learn how to build a business plan, how to start profitable small businesses, how to attract new clients or customers, how to hire, train and retain employees, and improve service and product offerings.

"Small businesses will play a critical role in rebuilding Michigan's economy," stated Carol Lopucki, state director of the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center. "The FastTrac programs allow entrepreneurs and small business owners an opportunity to test the feasibility of an idea and develop a plan before they launch a small business or take their business in a new direction. FastTrac is one of the many tools that are available to entrepreneurs here in Michigan."

As an online resource, the new CUSBFA.com website provides small businesses access to the CUSBFA counseling form, information on financing from participating credit unions, and additional state and federal programs that will assist entrepreneurs in moving their business forward. There are no loan limits for CUSBFA consideration, and each participating credit union will use their own underwriting standards and policies for loan consideration and approval. Start-up and small business owners are encouraged to complete the online CUSBFA consulting form to assist the MI-SBTDC and MCUL in determining next steps in helping them realize a new future.

About the MCUL:
Organized in 1934, the Michigan Credit Union League is a statewide trade association representing Michigan’s 333 credit unions. Based in Lansing, the MCUL offers credit unions assistance in the areas of regulatory compliance, legislative advocacy, media advocacy and operational information. For more information, visit http://www.mcul.org and follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MICreditUnions.

About the MEDC:
As a public corporation created through an interlocal agreement between state and local governments, the MEDC is a liaison with local communities and agencies across the state. It is guided by a board comprised of members who represent a cross section of the state economy, business owners and executives, local economic developers and college presidents. A corporation, not a bureaucracy, our policies and procedures meet the needs of the private sector. The MEDC brings together supply and demand and matches up resources and services with the needs of our business customers. http://www.michiganadvantage.org.

About the MI-SBTDC:
The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center provides counseling, training and market research for Michigan’s new business ventures, existing small businesses, expanding new businesses and new technology companies. The MI-SBTDC™ is located at the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As host of the MI-SBTDC State Headquarters, the Seidman College of Business oversees the twelve-region MI-SBTDC network. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest MI-SBTDC by calling (616) 331-7480 or visiting http://www.misbtdc.org.

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