Good news for small businesses in Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo Small Business Loan Fund Program has been expanded.

Originally created in March of 2020, the Kalamazoo Small Business Loan Fund Program, or KSBLF, was a partnership between the city of Kalamazoo and the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region. It started with a funding of two million dollars and definitely helped out local businesses. According to MLive.com, a total of 947 employees were able to stay employed thanks to the KSBLF.

That was then. What about now?

In a commission meeting earlier this week, the city of Kalamazoo and the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region agreed to an expansion. In total, this expansion of the original KSBLF will equal $3,115,500. The city plans to divide this over the next three years with a total of $1,038,500 being used each year.

This expansion is also aiming to focus on equity. Businesses that are women-owned or owned by Black, Indigenous, People of Color will be prioritized.

The KSBLF will provide eligible businesses located within the city of Kalamazoo a loan of $5,000 to $50,000.

Is my businesses eligible?

Obviously, not all businesses are going to qualify for the loan. However, if your business meets the following criteria, you may be eligible.

  • Must be located in the city of Kalamazoo
  • Must have 50 full time equivalent employees or less
  • The annual revenue for the business must be $2.5 million or less

There are a few more qualifications which you can read here.

As well, there's another grant titled the Kalamazoo Micro-Enterprise Grant Fund for businesses with 10 full time employees or less. That grant is valued at $5,000. You can learn more about how to apply for that grant here.

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It feels like we are slowly starting to crawl our way out of this pandemic but that doesn't mean everything will snap back to normal. While the majority of us are doing our best to survive and make it through, let's make sure we give our local businesses some love too. And that doesn't have to mean spending money. Here are some quick ways you can share the love without spending a dime:

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