Mark Sanchez of MIBiz talked with Amanda Blondea, Chief Strategy Officer for Northern Initiatives, about the Shared Success funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Partnership.
What will this grant funding allow Northern Initiatives to do?
It’s going to deepen the work that we’re already doing with small businesses in Michigan where we’re providing money and know-how so that they can build sustainable businesses, but our focus with job quality is that a lot of small business owners create the business to create jobs for themselves and they want to create jobs for others in their community. They care about their community, and so what we’re able to do with this is to be able to provide resources for coaching, as well as some financial support, to help entrepreneurs down that path. For somebody who’s starting a business today, what they can do is different from somebody who might be in business for 10 years and has grown to 20 employees. We’re not trying to say it’s a good or bad job, but create awareness around what this actually means and support them along the way.