Initiate gives business owners 24/7 access to vetted, reliable resources to help their businesses succeed.
Northern Initiatives created Initiate to get solid, consistent technical assistance to customers, no matter where they are or when they need it.
Our customers have always been widespread, throughout Michigan and neighboring Wisconsin, covering close to 100,000 square miles. Initiate gives them 24/7 access to vetted, reliable resources to help their businesses succeed.
We knew that mission lenders around the country faced the same problems of limited resources and unlimited geography, so in 2017, we opened Initiate up for peer subscriptions. We now have 22 CDFIs and mission lenders that subscribe to Initiate so they, in turn, can help their customers – wherever they are.
Initiate has been in development since 2015 but it truly showed its value during the pandemic. Business owners logged on to find COVID help, from how to project cash flow in times of uncertainty to preparing to reopen a business after COVID. We scaled up our already robust platform to help. We now have more than 300 resources available in English and Spanish, from videos to templates. Our subscriptions jumped almost 90% in one year.
But we’re not slowing down.
We just launched a section for Startups, to go along with sections on Money, Marketing, and Management. We continue to add subscribers around the country. And now we’re adding more strength to the Business Services team.
Amanda Blondeau, who started Initiate and shepherded it through its explosive first few years, is now the Chief Strategy Officer for Northern Initiatives, helping turn ideas into reality.
Israel Flores, a Northern Initiatives Business Coach based in Battle Creek, takes over the role of Business Services Director, making sure Northern Initiatives continues to be a leader, and developing and growing our team of coaches, contractors and, yes, Initiate.
Jessa Armstrong has been our Initiate Program Coordinator for the past year and is now our Initiate Customer Success Manager, making sure Initiate’s subscribers and users have everything they need, from training to insights to developing assets, and making sure their voices are heard.
Chris Wendel, who has been a Business Coach for Northern Initiatives in mid-Michigan, is now our Initiate Program Manager. He’s well-equipped for this position, having been in on the birth of Initiate and using it extensively with his coaching clients.