Foundation committing $10M to small business loans
A city in the region now has a small business loan fund that's backed by a major foundation.
The Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation, or WKKF, is investing $10 million to establish the Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund for BCVision, the city's economic development arm.
WKKF is immediately investing $1 million in the fund and will match local investments 2:1, up to $10 million.
Major contributions from the Battle Creek-based Kellogg Company, Battle Creek Unlimited and The Miller Foundation already total $1.8 million. With the 2:1 match for local contributions and the $1 million, the Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund has $6.4 million so far.
The new fund will be managed by Marquette-based Northern Initiatives, a 25-year-old community development financial institution.
"We are committed to accelerating transformation in Battle Creek so that all children will thrive," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "Creating a vibrant economic climate is critical to changing conditions and that requires all of us to concentrate efforts and speed up the process.
The loan fund is open to all small businesses in Battle Creek.
It is designed to invest in startups that struggle to gain access to capital, as well as existing small businesses looking to accelerate growth.
Supporting entrepreneurs of color will be a priority.
"One of the primary challenges small businesses face, especially those owned by women and people of color, is access to capital," Montgomery Tabron said.
"It is one part of a comprehensive city re-development plan."