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Great Lakes Bay Region Small Business Hub Emerges

Great Lakes Bay Region Small Business Hub Emerges

Governor Whitmer Designation Unleashes Vital Resources for Local Entrepreneurs

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich., Feb. 6, 2024 – The Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub has been selected as one of the 27 regional grantees to receive funding from the Small Business Support Hubs (SBSH) program, a pivotal initiative backed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

"In bringing together organizations that provide vital resources like networking, events, programs, and dedicated spaces, this initiative is positioned to create a dynamic ecosystem for small businesses to thrive,” said Central Michigan University Research Corporation (CMURC) President + CEO Erin Strang. “The true strength of the Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub lies in the collective efforts of all partners working collaboratively to empower and support the success of our local entrepreneurs."

The goal of the hub 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. Regional entities 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. 

“We are excited to partner with CMURC to bring consulting and support services to our local small business owners. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help make their dreams become a reality,” said Regional Director of Lake Huron Region SBDC Chris Vieau. 

“Michigan is committed to bolstering our entrepreneurial ecosystem by supporting the small businesses that drive our economy, as well as trusted partners like the CMURC that serve small businesses and partners throughout Michigan,” said Amy Rencher, MEDC Senior Vice President of Small Business Services. “By leveraging federal dollars, the Great Lakes Bay Small Business Support Hub will help us expand and improve resources across the region while raising the national profile of the strength of our entrepreneurial community.”

The hub provides conducive space for small business in the Great Lakes Bay Region, offering flexible office and conference spaces in Bay City, Midland, Saginaw, and soon-to-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. CMURC invites the community to the grand opening of the Mt Pleasant facility on June 26, 2024. 

“This strategic collaboration of the Small Business Support Hubs Program marks a transformative moment for our region,” said City Manager and Clerk for the City of Harrison in Michigan Justin Cavanaugh. “With the inclusion and expansion of the Harrison Market, this strategic alliance amplifies its impact, creating a dynamic environment for entrepreneurial growth and community prosperity.”

To learn more about the Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub program and its commitment to local businesses, please visit

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.


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 Michigan Economic Development Corporation 

The mission of the MEDC is to achieve long-term economic prosperity for Michiganders by investing in communities, enabling the growth of good jobs and promoting Michigan’s strong image worldwide. MEDC's strategic focus aims to position Michigan at the leading edge of economic development in the nation. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with more than 100 economic development partners, markets Michigan as the place to do business, assists businesses in their growth strategies, and fosters the growth of vibrant communities across the state. For more information, visit

About Small Business Development Center

The Michigan Small Business Development Center provides no-cost consulting, business education, market research and technology commercialization to new and existing businesses throughout Michigan's 83 counties. Michigan SBDC services are available at no cost through the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest Michigan SBDC by visiting

About the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance  

The mission of the GLBRA is to champion and support regional collaboration and initiatives that help grow the Great Lakes Bay Region. The Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance is comprised of more than 40 board members who represent various organizations across Bay, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw Counties.  More information is available at

About The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce

Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1882, is a private, non-profit business organization with nearly 800 members that provides programs to assist local businesses grow and prosper. The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce joins area businesses and the community for the economic growth and well-being of the entire Bay Area.

About Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce

The Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization that has served our community for nearly a century and aims to foster economic vitality by supporting and strengthening our business community. The Chamber offers resources that help our members save money, increase their visibility, and access programs for education and networking that aid in their growth and success.

About The Midland Business Alliance

The Midland Business Alliance (MBA) represents more than 3,000 businesses as Midland's business hub. The goal of the MBA is to support the attraction, development, and growth of businesses throughout Midland by providing an integrated portfolio of tools and resources. Additionally, the MBA manages the Midland Area Farmers Market and Midland Blooms.

About MMDC

Middle Michigan Development Corporation (MMDC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering economic growth and development in Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, and Osceola counties. By collaborating with stakeholders and providing resources and support, MMDC works towards building vibrant communities and strengthening the local workforce. For more information about MMDC, please visit

About Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce

Since 1863, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce has been a leading advocate and champion for business by facilitating important connections, advocating business friendly legislation, and supporting leadership and community issues that make Saginaw County a great place to live, work, learn and play. The Chamber and its members share a single purpose to elevate the community through business.

About Saginaw Future

Established in 1992, Saginaw Future Inc. (SFI) is a public-private alliance of local businesses, the County of Saginaw, City of Saginaw, 16 local municipalities and the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce. SFI’s strategic partners also include education, labor, and government. Since its beginning, SFI has remained dedicated to fostering quality job creation through expansion of local industry and attraction of new business projects to the community.

For more information visit, or to schedule an interview contact Kali Weiler at



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