Request for Proposals for Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority’s Corporate Legal Counsel

For Immediate Release – Tuesday, November 17, 2020: The Battle Creek Tax Finance Authority (BCTIFA) is seeking a qualified attorney and/or law firm to serve as general counsel.  RFP’s should be submitted no later than December 11, 2020 by 4:30 pm in a sealed envelope marked “BCTIFA Attorney Proposal” in the lower left-hand corner.  For more information about this RFP, please click here.

$2.1M EDA Grant for Tiger Room – Grant Will Support Accelerator for Food Companies

PRESS RELEASE, August 17, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration approved an economic development grant of $2,092,492 for the Southwest Michigan Accelerator Kitchen, located in Battle Creek, MI.  The grant, along with locally raised matching funds, will help with the $4 million renovation of the property located at 30 W. Van Buren St. in Battle Creek, MI.  Click here to read more

Battle Creek Unlimited’s Commitment to Equity, Inclusion, and Policy Change – Open Letter

Systematic inequities and racism are realities that exist in our society.  We hear, see, and empathize with the Black Community’s anger and pain.  As protests, conversations, and policy changes have elevated to an emotional turning point in our country surrounding the realities that exist in our Communities of Color, particularly in our Black Community, we must do more…..click here to read this letter in full and learn more about BCU’s commitment to equity, inclusion and policy change.

Battle Creek Unlimited responds to COVID-19 with $1.6 million in local support

PRESS RELEASE May 27, 2020

BATTLE CREEK, MICH – In the wake of the corona virus outbreak, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) provided approximately $1.6 million in direct support to 161 small businesses and nonprofits in the Battle Creek region, impacting 872 jobs. This financial assistance, in the form of loans and grants, was made possible by generous donations from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Consumers Energy Foundation, Chemical Bank, and Battle Creek Unlimited.
 
On March 19, days after Governor Whitmer’s executive order shuttered restaurants and bars, BCU announced its Emergency Loan Fund. Financed with $500,000 from BCU’s own revolving loan fund, the Direct Investment Fund (DIF), the Emergency Loan Fund was designed to provide an emergency cash infusion with favorable repayment terms, affording small businesses time to not only apply for SBA programs but also time to weather a multiple month shutdown. BCU also launched a COVID-19 resource website to provide local companies with information on available assistance.
 
As demand for loan requests from local companies grew, Chemical Bank donated $10,000 and BCU repurposed money from its Downtown Real Estate Improvement Fund, bringing the loan fund to almost $1 million. The loan fund provided 29 companies with loans totaling $955,000, impacting 363 jobs.
 
As the crisis worsened, BCU recognized that small businesses in Battle Creek were hardest hit by the pandemic. On April 16, BCU announced the COVID-19 Emergency Microgrant Fund for Small Businesses & Nonprofit Organizations. Funded by a donation of $250,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the microgrant fund provided cash grants to nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Priority was given to companies owned by women, minorities, and people of color as well as nonprofits whose mission serves those communities.
 
A $200,000 donation from the Consumers Energy Foundation as well as additional donations of $75,000 from the Kellogg Foundation and $75,000 from BCU raised the microgrant fund to $600,000. This enabled BCU to expand the program to include small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Springfield, Emmett Charter Township, Bedford Charter Township, and Pennfield Charter Township. In total, BCU made 132 grants, including 25 to local nonprofit organizations and 81 to small businesses owned by women, minorities and people of color, impacting 509 jobs.
 
During the crisis, BCU also supported the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with the Michigan Small Business Relief Program. The MEDC provided the Southwest Michigan region with $800,000 to distributed among seven counties. BCU served as the lead organization for the greater Battle Creek region, collecting and vetting 96 applications. This resulted in $126,600 in grants to 16 businesses, impacting 183 jobs.
 
As companies begin to return to work, BCU will adapt to the new business landscape. Staff have been working from home since late March and business travel has been put on hold for the near future. At same time, BCU President & CEO Joe Sobieralski believes Battle Creek is well positioned for what comes next.
 
“We have two large projects which are eager to break ground as soon as possible. We have seen requests for information on available buildings and space remain steady throughout this crisis,” said Mr. Sobieralski. “Moreover, there may be opportunities to attract new businesses to the area as companies rethink their supply chains. Given our location, workforce, existing company base and resources, Battle Creek is well positioned to come out the other side of this crisis even stronger than it was before.”
 
“As we begin to reopen, and position Battle Creek for recovery, reflection sets in. I am proud of my team, thankful for the work the City of Battle Creek does, and grateful for the wonderful partnerships we have in this community and beyond,” stated Mr. Sobieralski. “I look forward to the day we can go downtown to enjoy a beer at one of the amazing establishments. Until that day, stay healthy, stay strong, and know this is just temporary.”
 

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ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation.

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO
Battle Creek Unlimited
TEL 269-962-7526

BCU Expands COVID-19 Emergency Microgrant Fund for Small Businesses

PRESS RELEASE
May 6, 2020

BCU Expands COVID-19 Emergency Microgrant Fund for Small Businesses

• Program expanded to include companies and nonprofit organizations in Battle Creek, Springfield, Emmett Charter Township, Bedford Charter Township, and Pennfield Charter Township

• Round 2 applications are due by May 11

Battle Creek, Mich. – The Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) COVID-19 Emergency Microgrant Fund has grown to $600,000 after receiving a $200,000 donation from the Consumers Energy Foundation, a $75,000 donation from BCU, and an additional $75,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF). BCU started the emergency fund in April after receiving an initial $250,000 in support from WKKF.

The COVID-19 Microgrant Fund was created to help small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Funds may be used to maintain payroll and workforce expenses, including accounts payable, rent and other bills that could have been paid otherwise if the executive order had not been issued. The fund is not intended to replace lost sales, profits, or business expansions.

The additional money will allow BCU to open up the microgrant fund to eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Battle Creek as well as the adjacent communities of Springfield, Emmett Charter Township, Bedford Charter Township, and Pennfield Charter Township. To qualify, applicants should have fewer than 15 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue. The maximum award for Round 2 will be $5,000. Companies which previously were denied a grant are invited to reapply.

“We are grateful for the generosity of the Consumers Energy Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation,” said Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of BCU. “With the initial award of $250,000, we anticipated making between 35-50 awards. We received 127 applications requesting more than $1.8 million in the initial round. The combined additional funding will enable us to support an additional 65 to 85 businesses across the Battle Creek region.”

The Consumers Energy Foundation’s contribution is part of an effort to help small business customers in this time of need. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and have been significantly impacted during this unprecedented time,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “Consumers Energy is committed to helping Michigan’s small business community succeed now, more than ever. We are making an investment in our communities, business owners, workers and their families, and a commitment to help power through together.”

The Consumers Energy Foundation is donating $1.8 million to nine organizations to provide a lifeline to small businesses across Michigan – focusing in particular on helping female- and minority-owned businesses. In all, the Foundation has given over $3 million to meet the needs of Michigan residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Consumers Energy Foundation’s contribution is part of an effort to help small business customers in this time of need. Consumers Energy is promoting a hotline, 800-805-0490, and ConsumersEnergy.com/smallbusinessrelief to provide meaningful and immediate help.

The COVID-19 Microgrant Guidelines and Application are available at battlecreekcovid-19.com. Applications are due by the close of business on Monday, May 11, 2020.

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ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED
Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation.

ABOUT CONSUMERS ENERGY FOUNDATION
The Consumers Energy Foundation is the charitable arm of Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider. The Foundation enables communities to thrive and grow by investing in what’s most important to Michigan — its people, our planet and Michigan’s prosperity. For more information about the Consumers Energy Foundation, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/foundation.

MEDIA CONTACT
Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO, Battle Creek Unlimited
TEL 269-962-7526

COVID-19 Emergency Microgrant Fund for Small Businesses & Nonprofits

Battle Creek Unlimited Establishes $250,000

COVID-19 Emergency Microgrant Fund for Small Businesses & Nonprofits

 PRESS RELEASE Battle Creek, Michigan – April 16, 2020 Battle Creek Unlimited has established a $250,000 emergency microgrant fund for small businesses and nonprofits located in the City of Battle Creek which have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Priority will be given to businesses owned by women, minorities, and people of color as well as nonprofits whose mission serves children, women, minorities, and people of color. This program is made possible by a generous donation from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, based in Battle Creek.

 

The COVID-19 Microgrant Fund is intended to alleviate negative economic impact to eligible applicants and their employees on an interim basis until federal or state programs become available (SBA loans, etc., and/or other Federal or State programs). To qualify for the grant, applicants must meet the following criteria: 1) operate within the corporate limits of the City of Battle Creek; 2) have 15 employees or less; and 3) have annual revenue of $1 million or less.

 

Funds may be used to maintain payroll and workforce expenses, including accounts payable, rent, utilities, and other bills that could have been paid otherwise if the executive order had not been issued.  The fund is not intended to replace lost sales, profits, or business expansions. Grants to small businesses will be determined on the basis of annual revenue; grants to nonprofit organizations will be based on annual operating budgets. The maximum award will be $10,000.

 

“As the pandemic crisis continues, here at Battle Creek Unlimited, we remain vigilant on ways to help our community,” said Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited.  “This microgrant fund will support some of Battle Creek’s most vulnerable companies.  I am encouraged every day by the stories I hear on how Battle Creek residents and companies have come together and are helping each other.”

 

The COVID-19 Microgrant Guidelines and Application are available at battlecreekcovid-19.com. Applications are due by the close of business on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

 

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ABOUT THE W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal

innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to

create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

 

 

ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO, Battle Creek Unlimited

TEL 269-962-7526

 

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