Venture News
Top Talk
JULY 23, 2015
A Pathway for Children and Families


Dan and Brittini Fuller built a successful child care business in their home three years ago. But as their unique approach to early childhood development drew more families to Pathways Preschool, they needed space to grow. Learn how a $50,000 loan from Venture North helped them expand, hire more staff and provide more local families with quality child care services.

Great Start up for Innovation Award


The Traverse Bay Great Start Collaborative is among four finalists for a Regional Innovation Award from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. The award recognizes organizations that build stronger communities through breakthrough program development and collaboration among partners.


The Great Start Collaborative Traverse Bay, a partnership between Venture North and the Traverse Bay Intermediate School District, is the first of its kind in Michigan. It focuses on early childhood development as a driver of regional economic development, bringing together community leaders, families and caregivers to create advanced early childhood systems through the area that support family health, early literacy and expanded child care options.


"The finalists of the 2015 Regional Innovation Award exemplify the highest levels of civic entrepreneurship and economic stewardship," ACCE President Mick Fleming said.


Great Start Traverse Bay Collaborative Coordinator Mary Manner will attend the ACCE Annual Convention Aug. 11-14 in Montreal where the award will be presented. Learn more about the Traverse Bay Great Start Collaborative by clicking here.

Gary Geranen and Venture North's Laura Galbraith
C-Harbor Tax Expands

Gary Geranen of C-Harbor Tax & Accounting tapped a Venture North Sub Micro loan last fall to help launch his Jackson-Hewitt tax office in Traverse City.  After a successful first year, Geranen is expanding his business with the help of USDA financing through Venture North.


Geranen closed on the $30,000 loan with Venture North this month. It will allow him to open another C-Harbor Tax & Accounting office in Gaylord. It will be temporarily located in a kiosk in the Walmart complex in Gaylord while he looks for a permanent location. The funds will be used for franchising costs, advertising and marketing, furniture purchases and related start-up expenses.


Learn more about business financing opportunities available through Venture North.

Jim Harper with Laura Galbraith
Helping Clients Cope

Another client is turning to Venture North for a second time to help his successful counseling service expand its client base.


Jim Harper received a Sub Micro Loan in 2014 from the Chamber Foundation to help establish Specialized Personal Recovery Services, a professional counseling service. Harper recently closed on a $10,000 USDA loan that he will use to extend his counseling services to clients who are visually impaired. The funds will specifically be utilized to train staff and cover payroll costs pending government reimbursement.

Digging Up Business Success

A $15,000 USDA loan will help a local yard maintenance company expand and add new clients.


Robert Habedank purchased Dirt Worxx in Acme in 2013. He's steadily built the business since then and added winter maintenance to the company's services. Now he's expanding again and will utilize the financing from Venture North for various equipment upgrades including a new commercial mower, hauling trailer, fertilizer spreader and assorted lawn care tools.


The USDA loan fund is among Venture North's most active financing options. It provides business loans in the 5-county region to provide working capital, machinery and equipment purchases, product line expansion and more. Loans up to $100,000 are available. Learn more about the program.

Input Needed from Kalkaska Businesses

Kalkaska business owners are being asked for input as the Village of Kalkaska works on an economic development strategy for the community.


The village is leading a task force of area business leaders, education and workforce development representatives and other community stakeholders to create an economic development strategy to utilize local and regional strengths to address local economic needs. Input from the local business community is a key element to the project.


The questionnaire just takes a few minutes to complete, and will help generate insights into Kalkaska's business environment and potential that will be critical in planning for future economic growth and opportunity. The deadline for completing the survey is Friday, July 31. Link to the survey.

Venture North & TCLP Launch 0% Energy Loans

Venture North Funding & Development is teaming up with Traverse City Light & Power on a zero percent interest promotion for its Energy Efficiency Loan Fund to help business customers reduce their utility costs. Loans up to $50,000 are available. Click here to learn more.

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Total Funded




as of July 2015


$3 million-plus