Our Approach

We are leveling the playing field in business ownership

Our Mission

Northern Initiatives provides loans and business services to Michigan entrepreneurs and small business owners who add jobs and help their communities thrive.

This isn't about loans, it's about building stronger communities

CDFIs like Northern Initiatives and its partners are building stronger local economies, enhancing job growth, and supporting economic mobility. That means more business startups, more funding for business expansions, and greater economic empowerment for everyone living and working in under-invested communities. A small business loan isn’t just a loan: it represents a chance at building community wealth, improving quality of life, and creating positive, sustainable change.

Our Unique Approach

Access to capital is only part of the equation — albeit a big one. Business owners often need support in addition to funding. That is why Northern Initiatives provides coaching, resources, and tools to help our customers achieve their business goals.

What Success Looks Like

Diverse Business Ownership

Communities where your access to capital is not defined by your race or gender, but instead by the quality of your business. 

Sustainable Startups and Growth

Businesses that have the know-how to build better futures for themselves, their employees and their communities.

Strong Communities

Strong small businesses support strong communities. From jobs to resources, our small business partners are helping their employees and communities thrive.

Our Impact

$ 0 M

Given in small business loans


Total jobs created and retained by our small business loans

0 %

Of our loan customers receive additional business support

0 %

Of our 2022 customers were startups

Our Customers

Demographic Makeup of Northern Initiatives Loan Customers 2017-2021

Featured Success Stories

Chalets offer shopping and valuable experience

Leiko Bergers, left, works with Northern Initiatives Business Coach Cailin Kelly Leiko Bergers has always shared her energy and “retail can…
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Working on Job Quality

West Michigan
Leandra Nisbet has looked and looked, but can’t find a practical way to provide healthcare for her small business, with two full-time employees. “Until you…
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Tienda Mexicana El Cuñao

St. Louis, MIchigan
The workers who grow our food need food. Vanessa Muniz makes sure they get what they need – and it goes well beyond food. Her…
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Hiawatha Log Homes

Wetmore, Michigan
‘A TimberPro on Every 40’ Hiawatha Log Homes saves energy and customers benefit Joe Esbrook’s log home was built by his dad the year Joe…
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Start Garden winners team up with Northern Initiatives

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Start Garden Demo Day is legendary. The Grand Rapids-based business incubator holds an annual pitch contest, beginning with a 100-second video pitch and ending with…
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