Data That We Track, July 2018



Communities We Serve


The July numbers saw jobless rates go down for the country and the state, but they went down in only 25 of the 78 counties that we track. Another 6 counties had their rates hold steady, which means that 45 counties saw an increase in jobless rates.


View the Latest Data Sheet (Adobe PDF File).


How Northern Initiatives Fared


We are heading toward some deadlines to commemorate 25 years of small business lending. We will be hosting a series of events, starting with our hometown event on September 17th, at the Delft Bistro in Marquette. We will also have celebrations:

  • October 1st, at 51st State Brewing in Kingsford
  • October 4th, at Four Leaf Brewing in Clare
  • October 8th, at Harvest in Traverse City
  • October 15th at Karl’s Cuisine in Sault Ste. Marie

Tickets can be secured here. There will be food, drink, prizes and very short speeches, so I hope with those enticements, we will see many of you at one of our events.



Monthly Musings from President, Dennis West


Many successful businesses and for that matter, just about any institution, thrives once it finds a tempo in building relationships. Our business constantly confronts a question of “how will you take what you do to scale?” The twist to our work is not so simple. When we set out to boost our transactions that speaks to only one side or our equation, as what we offer is “money and know how.” Fintech (on-line lenders) have mastered the transactional side of doing faster and that could become our model for scaling our lending side too. But it also leaves us with the question of how do you scale “know how?”


We have added our sixth partner who is part of a learning path of exploration of that question. The six are:

  • Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana
  • Colorado Enterprise Fund
  • LiftFund
  • Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC)
  • Southwest Initiative Foundation
  • Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC)


This group of Community Development Financial Institutions has BEC licensees of our online learning portal, Initiate. The portal contains over 100 learning resources; guides, videos, templates, calculators and webinars, designed to help CDFI’s build know-how with their customers. The potential scalability is associated with some questions. Can we create insights, using technology and coaching (blended learning), to scale building customer relationships? Can we advance the knowledge and business acumen of our customers to grow locally owned small businesses?


NI and these partners are a learning community, exploring how blended learning is working, with who is working, and what results are being seen. Using technology will allow many things to scale and scale quickly.  However, scaling relationships is a more delicate, exquisite art where there is much learning to be done.




Loans Closed in July


Battle Creek

Shwe Mandalay Burmese Restaurant 
Kobalt Kitchen


Mel’s Pine Pantry
Two Rare Design Studio





Support Northern Initiatives


Northern Initiatives wishes to thank our funders, investors and donors for their continued support. Northern Initiatives provides money and know how to start-ups and growing businesses. We invite you to join us to help more businesses start and grow. Please consider giving a donation today.



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