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CMU continues commitment to serve the Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub

CMU continues commitment to serve the Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub

Serving entrepreneurs through the Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich., April 18, 2024 — Central Michigan University Board of Trustees approved the appointment of new members to the Central Michigan University Research Corporation (CMURC) Board of Directors.

The new appointees include Kaleb Patrick, Interim Vice President, CMU Innovation and Online Services; Mitchell Bal, Assistant Vice President, PNC Bank; and Bob Johnson, Editor, MLIVE. Their wealth of expertise and diverse backgrounds will fortify CMURC’s leadership team as it steers the Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub towards prosperity and innovation.

“CMU remains committed to the community and advancing entrepreneurship and innovation across the Great Lakes Bay Region,” said Central Michigan University President Bob Davies. “The support of the board will ensure CMURC can continue to empower and lift up small businesses, creating jobs and spurring growth.”

Each new member is poised to contribute unique insights that will propel CMURC’s mission forward. Kaleb Patrick, representing CMU IO, will offer invaluable guidance in fostering entrepreneurial endeavors within the region through online courses. Mitchell Bal, representing PNC Bank, brings a wealth of financial acumen to the board, vital for supporting the financial health and sustainability of small businesses. Bob Johnson, as Editor of MLIVE, brings a keen understanding of media and communication, essential for amplifying the voices of entrepreneurs and advancing the Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub visibility within the community.

“The knowledge and depth of these new Board members will be a great addition as CMURC looks at the needs and resources for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Great Lakes Bay Region,” said Central Michigan University Research Corporation President + CEO Erin Strang. “Each community that we serve has different resources and different challenges. With the continued diversity of our Board, we will be able to address the needs to move our community forward.”

Under the stewardship of these new directors, CMURC aims to strengthen partnerships within the region and streamline its services to provide entrepreneurs with a centralized hub for assistance. By combining existing assets and eliminating duplication of services, the Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub goal is to strengthen already existing resources and to deliver programs and services to the community through the collaboration of local chambers, community and economic development organizations, and entrepreneurial small business service organizations.

The appointees will join CMU members: President Dr. Robert O. Davies, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mary Hill, Vice President Toby Roth, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Shawna Patterson, Vice President John Veilleux, Dean David Ford, and Director of Isabella Bank Institute of Entrepreneurship Julie Messing. Along with joining the private sector members: Melinda Coffin, Raquel Perez, Felicia Harris, Jeff Stoutenburg, and Dan Ward.

Join CMURC at the unveiling of the new Small Business Hub in Mount Pleasant on June 26 to witness firsthand the collective efforts of our dedicated board and partners in building a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. Learn more at


CMURC is a professional and diverse coworking space with accelerator programs focused on product and strategic development for entrepreneurs to positively impact the economy in the Great Lakes Bay Region. It brings together local, regional and statewide partners to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs, professionals, and corporations growing businesses and jobs by leveraging the resources of Central Michigan University, the Mount Pleasant SmartZone District and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. CMURC is committed to inclusive entrepreneurship with the ultimate goal of closing the opportunity gap because people from all backgrounds deserve access to business and entrepreneurial resources.

About Small Business Support Hubs

The Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, is designed to supply comprehensive resources and support to small businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. These resources include one-on-one coaching, cohort-based learning and accelerators, mentor matchmaking, pitch competitions, networking events, access to capital, partner referrals, and statewide resource navigation.

The hub provides collaborative CoWork space for small business in the Great Lakes Bay Region, offering flexible office and conference spaces in Bay City, Midland, Saginaw, and soonto-reopen Mt Pleasant facility. Entrepreneurs can seize unique opportunities to sell products by utilizing the SVRC Marketplace or Harrison City Market, which aims to provide expanded business services to Clare, Gladwin, and Osceola Counties. This collaboration will revitalize the commercial kitchen and business incubator space, leveraging advanced technology, personnel support, and strategic marketing efforts.

Regional entities partnering for the Small Business Hub include CMURC, MEDC, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance. Bay County encompasses the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and Bay Future. Midland County is represented by the Midland Business Alliance. Isabella County includes Middle Michigan Development Corporation (MMDC) and the Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce. Saginaw County features the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and Saginaw Future.

For more information visit, or to schedule interviews contact Kali Weiler at 989.289.6724 or kali



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