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As a generation of baby boomer entrepreneurs looks toward retirement, a West Michigan congressman has sponsored legislation to make it easier to broker the sale or acquisition of small businesses.

Based on the success of the Grand Rapids and East Lansing locations of the brewpub HopCat, parent company BarFly Ventures LLC thinks it has a winning concept to take to new markets across Michigan and nearby states.

The combination of an Ann Arbor group that runs a statewide business plan competition for startups and a small business foundation seeks to create a greater entrepreneurial culture across Michigan.

A Kalamazoo-based metal and plastics recycler plans to expand its capacity at an existing site in Grand Rapids by year’s end.

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.

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