Micro Grants To Create Jobs And Help Local Food Businesses Grow

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When you have a business, every little bit helps. Citizens Bank, Eastern Market Corporation, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced the latest round of micro grants through Eastern Market to support food-based small businesses in Metro Detroit.

The grant funds include $60,000 from Citizens Bank and $150,000 from MEDC.

Citizens Bank funding is through its Growing Communities program, which focuses on job creation by leveraging Michigan’s agricultural industry.

“Our Growing Communities initiative reflects Citizens’ belief that the strength of our company is directly tied to the strength of communities we serve,” said Rick Hampson, President, Citizens Bank, Michigan. “We have seen a great return on our investment in Michigan’s growing local food industry. This money will help contribute to a more successful economy by helping to create more local jobs and supporting local small businesses.”

Funding from MEDC is through its economic gardening strategy.

“MEDC is proud to join Citizens Bank and Eastern Market to help foster entrepreneurship and small business growth in metro Detroit,” MEDC CEO Steve Arwood said. “This is the kind of high-impact public-private partnership that can serve as a model in communities across the state.”

“We’re excited to be partnered with Citizens Bank for a new round of the Growing Communities grant program and the strong support provided by MEDC,” said Randall Fogelman, vice president, business development, Eastern Market Corporation. “This effort has helped so many small Detroit-based businesses that often don’t have access to capital, grow and prosper.”

The money provided through the grants will enable small food-based businesses the opportunity to buy equipment, acquire land, and hire staff.

Last year, 32 food businesses were awarded funds from the Growing Communities Grant Program. Two local jam producers, Slow Jams and Beau Bien, were able to use the funds to buy piston-fillers, automatic jar-filling machines, to help grow their businesses.

“We were grateful for the opportunity to apply for funding through the Growing Communities program,” shared Shannon Byrne, owner of Slow Jams. “Purchase of the piston-filler allowed our business to greatly increase productivity.”

Applications for the grants are available at the Eastern Market website. The application deadline is August 21, 2015. Grants will be awarded in October 2015.

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