A northern Michigan funding and development group is lending at a record pace so far in 2022.
Venture North has given $1 million dollars in the first five months of the year to small businesses throughout northern Michigan. The President of Venture North, Laura Galbraith, says they hope to see more economic growth.
“We hope to see more jobs retained, jobs being created, people who are having more family-sustainable wages with the companies they work for,” Galbraith says.
The $1 million they’ve given in the first five months of the year is the most the organization has made in any 12-month period from 2018 to 2021. Galbraith partly credits the pandemic for the rise in businesses seeking a loan.
“[We’ve] gone through a lot of changes through 2020, 2021, but in 2022 we’re starting to see more businesses that are vibrant, sustainable, trying to expand. New people that are coming into this region that want to start a business,” Galbraith states. “I think that had a lot to do with our ramp up in activity, but I also think that it was partners that we were able to establish during COVID. Because of those relationships, we’ve been able to reach new markets.”
Galbraith also credits their record lending to their recent expansion. The Venture North team’s expansion has allowed them to help more business and in a wider area. This year, they’ve had projects in 10 northern Michigan counties including Wexford, Charlevoix and Benzie Counties.
“In prior years it was only in the Grand Traverse, Benzie area. Because of [our expansion] we’ve been able to drastically increase the amount of businesses that we support,” Galbraith explains.
Venture North says the record lending has created 37 new jobs and helped retain 55 jobs. They say they expect more of the same for the second half of 2022.
“We are seeing more and more businesses starting and asking for assistance with their business planning and some of their accounting needs. We’re seeing more businesses that are expanding. So, I would say at the end of this year, we could potentially double what we’ve been able to do in the first five months of 2022,” Galbraith says.