Northern Initiatives Prosperity. Money and Know How

MEDC Initiate Cohort

The cohort members and the businesses they serve all have access to MEDC.Initiate, a customized version of Initiate.

MEDC Initiate Cohort Initiate, Northern Initiatives’ online business resource, is already in use in 33 states. Now we’re blanketing our own backyard. Thanks to a partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., small businesses throughout Michigan now have access to the hundreds of interactive tools, templates, videos and guides that will help them launch and grow.

 

The MEDC’s Initiate Business Retention Training Series began in May with a “Train the Trainer’ model designed for people in business support and management organizations, such as local governments, downtown development authorities and financial institutions.

 

Over the next year, the MEDC is offering three training cohorts, each lasting about 12 weeks and including four strategic learning sessions, training for small businesses, and a shared learning group.

 

The cohort members and the businesses they serve all have access to MEDC.Initiate, a customized version of Initiate.

 

“I love the Spanish side; that’s really valuable,” said Suzanne Perreault, Small Business Program Manager at MEDC. Two-thirds of Initiate’s resources are now available in Spanish; all resources will be in Spanish by the end of the year. Plus, “It’s online access as you need it, when it’s convenient,” she said.

 

One part of business retention is ensuring the trainers have the tools they need to support small businesses and the businesses have the knowledge they need to be sustainable, Perreault said. That’s where Initiate comes in. Another part is building trust. “It takes time to build relationships so they feel comfortable talking about possible problems as well as possible plans.” Trainers will also have access to data from MEDC.Initiate that helps them understand what resources are being used and what supplemental resources might be helpful.

 

“All participants submitted an application online, where we learned about their current business retention programs and what they hoped to get out of the cohort,” said Amanda Blondeau, Chief Strategy Officer for Northern Initiatives. Among the key goals:

 

• Provide customized resources to support the businesses they work with.
• Build trust within the community
• Networking opportunities with other cohort members
• Expand outreach and attract new members

 

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