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Velocity Center Smart Zone receives state funding to serve as an entrepreneurial hub

Don Gardner

The Velocity Center Smart Zone in Sterling Heights has received $1.8 million

from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to serve as an entrepreneurial hub for Region 10, which comprises Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

It is the only entrepreneurial hub in Macomb County.

The Small Business Support Hubs (SBSH) program received approval by the Michigan Strategic Fund in June to distribute the funds, following the passage of the $75 million Small Business Smart Zones and Business Accelerators initiative by the Michigan legislature in February. Velocity is one of 27 organizations across the state to receive the funding to serve as entrepreneurial hubs.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the announcement of the SBSH grant of $1.8 million awarded to Velocity to expand our services to support small businesses, brick-and-mortar storefronts and microenterprises in Macomb County,” Velocity Interim Director April Boyle said. “It has always been our vision that Velocity be a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and business owners regardless of business sector, size or lifecycle. We are open for business and everyone is welcome.”

The program is funded by a one-time appropriation using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to create and operate programs to support small businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Michigan’s economy, and this investment to support their growth from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will build on Michigan’s economic momentum,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “These 27 entrepreneurial hubs across the state will shore up our small business ecosystem, providing economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs and small businesses with the support they need to keep growing and expanding right here in Michigan.”

The program generated a high level of interest and demand, with a Joint Evaluation Committee reviewing more than 80 applications representing a total of $275 million in funding requested.

Resources available from the hubs will 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.

Programming across the 27 hubs is designed to meet regional needs as well as economic competitiveness measures, such as resources for strategic sectors including ClimateTech and Advanced Manufacturing. The hubs will also offer targeted support to family owned and rural businesses to drive resiliency in a rapidly evolving economic climate.

Are you looking for help to start your own business? Macomb County Planning and Economic Development and the Velocity Center can lend you a hand. Call 586-469-5100 for free and confidential assistanc

Department:Macomb Business