Venture News
Top Talk
April 22, 2016
From the Director's Desk:
It's been a very busy first quarter for Venture North Funding & Development. We reached and passed the 50-loan mark in regional business financing, and surpassed the $3 million funding plateau!  We made our first Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) loan in Benzie County (see below), were awarded a $30,000 grant for operations from DTE Energy Foundation, and received a major grant for local child care efforts from the Consumers Energy Foundation. Our second quarter is also off to a fast start, with several projects in the works totaling more than $1 million in additional business financing as we continue building to our $10 million lending goal. We'll keep you updated!

Here's more information on some of our first quarter highlights. Thanks for your support of Venture North.

Laura Galbraith, Executive Director

FUNDING | Access to Capital
Sharon and Kirk Jones with Venture North's Laura Galbraith

Venture North Creates Buzz in Benzie
A landmark bee farm and food producer in Benzie County will expand with the help of Venture North Funding and Development. Sleeping Bear Apiaries owners Kirk and Sharon Jones recently secured a $205,000 Community Development Block Grant loan - Venture North's first CDBG loan in Benzie County - for new equipment and product to expand production.  Learn more  in this story from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Sarah Landry Ryder of Kejara's Bridge with Doug
Luciani of TraverseCONNECT and Laura Galbraith

Kejara's Bridge Expands to Cherry Capital Foods
Kejara's Bridge is a growing force in Northern Michigan's burgeoning local food sector, and is getting ready to take a bigger bite out of the market. Thanks to a new $175,000 Venture North loan through Grand Traverse County's Community Development Block Grant program, owner Sarah Landry Ryder is moving the company's production of its popular "The Redheads" brand of granola, hummus and other products from its restaurant in Lake Leelanau into a larger facility at Cherry Capital Foods in Traverse City.

The loan will help purchase new equipment to increase production capacity, purchase inventory and bolster its marketing efforts. It will also add five new employees over the next two years. Learn more about this fast-growing operation.
Bill Koucky of Grand Traverse Culinary Oils

Cooking Up Business Success
Bill Koucky has gradually built a canola oil business over the past eight years into a growing enterprise that sells high quality, healthier cooking oil to area retailers, restaurants and food processors. And Venture North has been an active partner along the way, helping finance Koucky's growth with a small Sub Micro loan back in 2013 and later that year more business capital from its USDA Loan Fund.

Koucky's Grand Traverse Culinary Oils continues to expand and recently secured its third Venture North loan, this time for $112,282 from the USDA Loan Fund. It will help the company purchase refinery equipment for bulk oil sales of his non-genetically modified cooking oils. The company expects to add at least three new jobs through the expansion.

Koucky's successful venture is earning him acclaim across the local food scene, recently earning him the prestigious Chapman Award from the Northwest Michigan Food & Farming Network. Learn more about his amazing story.

Radio Centre Powers Down
If saving some money on your energy bills is good, saving more is even better. Radio Centre recently tapped Venture North's Energy Efficiency Loan Fund established with Traverse City Light & Power Co.  for a $36,000 loan for energy upgrades to its building in downtown Traverse City. It's the second loan from the fund that's been utilized by Radio Centre for energy upgrades to the structure.

Midwestern Broadcasting's Chris Warren said the funds are being utilized to install a heat pump system to serve a 4,000 square-foot area in the building's fourth floor where the company's radio stations operate 24/7. That saves the company from having to operate its large HVAC system when the studios are operating on evenings and weekends when the heating/cooling system for the rest of the building is in energy-saving mode.

"It allows the building's large rooftop HVAC to remain in a more 'dormant' mode after hours and weekend, and allows the building to save a significant amount of energy usage," Warren said.

Your company can fund up to $50,000 in energy-saving technology upgrades and related work at attractive financing rates with the TCLP Energy Efficiency Loan Fund through Venture North. Learn more  about this money-saving program.
Doug Rothwell

Rothwell to Speak at Venture North Annual Meeting
One of Michigan's leading voices for business will highlight this year's Annual Meeting of Venture North Funding & Development. Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, is the guest speaker for the event that's scheduled for June 14 at 11:30 a.m. at Visions at CenterPointe at 12935 S. West Bay Shore Drive in Greilickville.

Rothwell will discuss Michigan's business climate and where the state's business sector is headed, while Venture North Executive Director Laura Galbraith will present an overview of the last year of activity. Tickets are $15 and you can register here. 

Venture North's Annual Meeting is presented by:
Dr. Ramona Pleva and Venture North's
Laura Galbraith

Sub-Micro Loan Boosts Northern Lights Chiropractic
Venture North's Sub Micro Loan Fund established in conjunction with Fifth Third Bank continues to show that even a small business loan can make a big difference to a growing operation.

Northern Lights Chiropractic recently secured a $7,500 Sub Micro Loan to promote the medical office that opened in October on Crossing Circle Drive near Home Depot in Garfield Township.  Northern Lights' Dr. Ramona Pleva, one of three independent chiropractors in the office, said the financing has been an important part of the office's successful launch.

"We're using it for marketing and advertising, to talk about what we do and how we can help people lead a more healthy life," Dr. Pleva said. "I'm very grateful I've been able to get some assistance and grow my practice more quickly than I might have otherwise."

The Sub Micro Loan Fund provides short-term financing of up to $7,500 in start-up or seed money for businesses within the 5-county region.  Click here  to learn more.
Consumers Foundation Supports 5toONE
Consumers Energy made another major commitment to improving child care options for Northern Michigan families through a recent $60,000 grant to the Great Start Collaborative Traverse Bay's 5toONE program from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

Great Start officials said the grant, part a 3-year commitment from the utility to support the loc al 5toONE  initiative to develop community-based child care centers around the region, will help expand the program's network of Neighborhood Centers in the region. Click here to learn more about the Consumers Energy Foundation's support for the program.
Total Funded

Business Funding

53 loans totaling $3,060,826.01

as of April 1, 2016

Funding Available

Approximately $3 million

Learn more about our financing options at
Venture News is exclusively presented by:

Get connected to more info:

Suggestions for topics you would like to read here?

Total Funded


as of 04/01/2016