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When it launches a mobile banking app by the end of the year, West Michigan Community Bank will become one of the smallest players to join one of the banking industry’s largest trends.

Of the roughly 35 business owners who attended a recent seminar in Grand Rapids, only one had an exit plan for how he would eventually leave his company.

Zipments Corp., a crowdsourcing platform that connects businesses and couriers for inexpensive, same-day delivery, has raised $2.25 million in seed funding, MiBiz has learned.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs in Michigan have more to smile about than just the pleasant summer weather.

Rise of the Risk Takers

Written by | Sunday, 07 July 2013 17:00 |

Whether by choice or economic necessity, more people in West Michigan have embraced entrepreneurism and the risks that come with it. Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business explores that culture change in a new report.

Small and midsize business owners are more confident about Michigan's economy, according to a semi-annual survey by worker's compensation carrier The Accident Fund and the Michigan Business Network.

West Michigan became a better place to start and run a business during the last four years, a change that reflects a greater entrepreneurial culture that's taking hold across the region. That's according to a new report by Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

When Mike Barnaart wanted to start the Walldorff Brewpub and Bistro in Hastings in 2005, he had some trouble getting the necessary funding. Many banks were hesitant to lend to hospitality ventures. Eventually, he found some relief through a loan backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Earlier this month, Barnaart hosted the SBA, economic development professionals and myriad local business owners for a roundtable discussion about ways to utilize the services of the SBA. Barnaart sat down with MiBiz to talk about his own experience with the SBA and the success his business has enjoyed.

Compared to a decade ago, Michigan is a far better place to start and run a small business.

Q&A: Doug Hekman, Quincy Street Inc.

Written by | Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:00 |

Quincy Street Inc., a Holland-based meat processor specializing in pork products, has had a solid track record of success since its founding in 1994. The company started with just 11 employees but now employs more than 100.

Failure has been a catalyst in Rick DeVos’ evolution as an entrepreneur. With his $15 million Start Garden fund, he hopes to help fledgling entrepreneurs overcome their risk aversion and create the next generation of wealth-creating companies in West Michigan.

How to win at Start Garden

Written by | Sunday, 28 April 2013 22:00 |

The public voting aspect of Start Garden is a sexy twist that generates buzz, but it appears the path to higher-level funding from the local venture fund requires the staff’s endorsement right from the get-go, according to an analysis by MiBiz.   

Crowdfunding has the potential to revolutionize how small businesses raise capital, but it generates an old worry: the possibility for fraud.

When two old high school buddies were reunited at a 1995 Christmas party in Hastings, a new company called TerraTrike was born.

It’s undeniable that the emphasis on entrepreneurship in Grand Rapids is on the rise. But along with that culture shift of valuing growing young companies, many entrepreneurs have also embraced a much different view of their rivals. 

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