Category Archives: Business News

The Right Place, Inc. will receive $1M Grant for Small Business Relief

The Right Place, Inc., in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and regional partners, announced that The Right Place will receive a $1 million grant from the MEDC to support small businesses that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

In this unprecedented time of economic and business stress, we want to do everything we can for West Michigan businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We are collaborating with our local and regional partners in this effort to quickly and efficiently provide much needed financial support to small businesses.

 

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program is designed to provide grants up to $10,000 to local small businesses with less than 50 employees. Grants may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.

 

The Right Place and its regional partners intend to use the grant funds to support qualifying small businesses within 11 of the 13 counties of West Michigan’s Prosperity Region #4. “Qualified Small Businesses” will be limited to the statutes identified in both this grant program and Executive Order 2020-9.

 

Counties covered by this grant in Region #4 include: Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, and Osceola. A table of fund award allocations by county can be found at this link. Ottawa and Allegan counties are not covered by this grant, and affected businesses in those counties are encouraged to apply for funds through a separate grant administered by local economic organization, Lakeshore Advantage.

 

Each county will have the opportunity to assemble a local county review committee for relief applications. The size of the committees will vary and may be composed of both public and private economic development partners. Collaborative partners may include but are not limited to local economic development organizations, municipalities, counties, Downtown Development Authorities, chambers of commerce, minority associations and chambers, local banks and finance professionals, and community foundations.

 

Applications from affected businesses will be accepted, reviewed, and approved by these local county review committees. As applications are approved locally, funds will be distributed by The Right Place directly to the applicant company.

 

“There are over 76,000 small businesses in these 11 counties and $1 million in funds,” said Klohs. “We anticipate demand will far exceed availability of funding, which will necessitate difficult decisions throughout the grant review process.”

 

The Right Place anticipates funds to be made available on or before April 12th and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Each county will be accepting, reviewing, and approving applications through their local committees. Please submit applications before close of business on April 6. Local committee contacts are as follows:

    Ionia: Travis Alden | The Right Place, Inc. | aldent@rightplace.org |231-233-4349

    Montcalm: Kathy Jo VanderLaan | The Right Place, Inc. | vanderLaank@rightplace.org | 616-498-0374

    Newaygo: Julie Burrell | The Right Place, Inc.| burrellj@rightplace.org | 231-335-1985

    Lake: Jodi Nichols | The Right Place, Inc.| nicholsj@rightplace.org | 231-742-3328

    Oceana: Jodi Nichols – The Right Place, Inc. | nicholsj@rightplace.org | 231-742-3328

    Kent: Brent Case |The Right Place, Inc. | covidrelief@rightplace.org | 616-301-6246

    Barry: Jennifer Heinzman | Barry County Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Alliance | jennifer@mibarry.com | 269-945-2454

    Mason: Brandy Miller | Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce | brandyh@ludington.org | (231) 845-0324

    Mecosta: Jim Sandy | Mecosta County Development Corporation | jsandy@mecostacounty.org | 231-250-9226

    Muskegon: Morgan Carroll | Muskegon Area First | mcarroll@muskegon.org | 231-286-9497

    Osceola: Dan Massy | Osceola County Community & Economic Development Dept. | dmassy@osceolacountymi.com | (231) 832-7397

Governor Whitmer Working to Deliver Solutions for Small Business Impacted by COVID-19

Requests Statewide SBA Disaster Declaration to Unlock Access to Emergency Loans for Michigan Businesses

 

Following through on her commitment to find solutions to support small businesses across Michigan impacted by COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer today formally requested the U.S. Small Business Administration to issue an Economic Injury Disaster declaration for the state.

 

“I understand that small businesses across our state are facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Whitmer. “I requested this disaster declaration from SBA as a critical step to ensure every possible resource is made available to businesses, communities, entrepreneurs and others around the state.”

 

“This request and supporting application is the result of the hard work and collaboration of the Michigan Small Business Development Center and partners around the state pulling together and demonstrating our state’s resilience in working to overcome the temporary loss of revenue businesses are experiencing as a result of coronavirus,” said Mark Burton, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We appreciate their significant efforts and will continue to leverage every resource possible to support our businesses, and the livelihoods they provide, throughout Michigan.”

 

Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation that makes $1 billion available to the SBA to provide low-interest loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once granted, an SBA Economic Injury Disaster declaration will make disaster loans of up to $2 million available to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

 

In the interim, small businesses that could benefit from SBA loans are encouraged to start collecting the information they’ll need to complete and submit their application. Examples of information needed can be found here. For additional information or to obtain help preparing the loan application in advance of the declaration, please contact the Michigan SBA offices in Detroit or Grand Rapids.

 

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit MEDC’s website: https://www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19/ or call 888.522.0103.  The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website https://sbdcmichigan.org/small-business-covid19/ for additional information.

 

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.  

 

For those who have questions about the state’s actions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8AM – 5PM daily. 

REHMANN WINS CLEARLYRATED’S 2020 BEST OF ACCOUNTING DIAMOND AWARD FOR SERVICE EXCELLENCE

Diamond award recognizes firms who have consistently earned industry-leading satisfaction scores from their clients

 

Rehmann, a fully integrated financial services and advisory firm, has won ClearlyRated’s Best of Accounting diamond award for providing superior service to its clients for at least five consecutive years. Of the Best of Accounting award winners, only 25% have earned the diamond award. Diamond award winners have proven to be industry leaders in service quality, based on the ratings submitted by their clients.

 

In 2019, Rehmann received satisfaction scores of 9 or 10 out of 10 based on over 1,700 clients surveyed. Rehmann’s satisfaction score is significantly higher than the industry’s average of just 45%.

 

“Clients value our ideas and insights, as well as our adaptive nature, which allows us to be available to clients when we’re needed most,” said Mitch Reno, Director of Client Experience at Rehmann. “Earning the diamond award and the Best of Accounting recognition for the fifth consecutive year indicates that our associates’ commitment to client service is not going unnoticed.”

 

Rehmann also received a Net Promoter® Score of 74.4%, compared to the industry’s average of 24% in 2019. Best of Accounting winners’ clients are 1.9 times more likely to be satisfied than those who work with non-winning firms.

 

“Now more than ever, providing a consistently remarkable client experience is critical for accounting firms,” said ClearlyRated’s CEO Eric Gregg. “All accounting firms attempt to deliver great service – Best of Accounting winners have proven it. I couldn’t be more proud to showcase these service leaders alongside feedback from their actual clients, on ClearlyRated.com and applaud them for their commitment to service excellence at their respective firms!”

 

About Rehmann

Rehmann is a fully integrated financial services and advisory firm that provides accounting and assurance, comprehensive technology, accounting and human resource solutions, specialized consulting and wealth management services. For more than 75 years, Rehmann has provided forward-thinking solutions, making it our duty to anticipate our clients’ daily and future needs. Rehmann has nearly 900 associates in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Rehmann is an independent member of Nexia International, offering clients a global approach. Find us online at rehmann.com.

 

About ClearlyRated

Rooted in satisfaction research for professional service firms, ClearlyRated utilizes a Net Promoter Score survey program to help professional service firms measure their service experience, build online reputation, and differentiate on service quality. Learn more at https://www.clearlyrated.com/solutions/.

 

About Best of Accounting™
ClearlyRated’s Best of Accounting® Award recognizes accounting firms that have demonstrated exceptional service quality based exclusively on ratings provided by their clients. The award program provides statistically valid and objective service quality benchmarks for the accounting industry, revealing which firms deliver the highest quality of service to their clients. Winners are featured on ClearlyRated.com – an online business directory that helps buyers of professional services find service leaders and vet prospective firms – based exclusively on validated client ratings and testimonials.

Cure International and International Aid: Stronger Together

We believe that lives in some of the most challenged areas of the world can be changed through excellent and efficient healthcare and through the message of God’s love for them. Because of this, CURE International and International Aid have united to leverage our shared vision and unique competencies to maximize our ministry impact around the world. Together, we are able to better serve patients entrusted to our care while also expanding our ministry.

 

CURE and International Aid have a common interest in seeing the love of Christ displayed through ministries that reach the most challenged areas and greatest needs in the world. This natural partnership strengthens both ministries to do kingdom work and demonstrates the power of unity and collaboration in proclaiming the kingdom of God.

 

CURE hospitals offer life-changing surgery and the hope of the gospel to children with treatable conditions. International Aid provides medical equipment and health services to people in need around the world. International Aid’s experience with hospital equipment procurement will bring more operational efficiency to CURE hospitals. International Aid’s biomedical engineers will train national engineers at CURE hospitals and other hospitals in-country, creating relationships that generate referrals and revenue streams. It’s yet another way that together we can demonstrate the gospel by being a good neighbor.

 

WHAT WILL THIS PARTNERSHIP LOOK LIKE?

 

CURE and International Aid have been partners for two decades, and the decision to join forces has been a careful and deliberate process designed to benefit both ministries.

 

Effective July 1, International Aid became a distinct, but wholly owned subsidiary of CURE International.
Over the remainder of 2019, both organizations will merge resources, teams, and offices into a shared West Michigan presence at International Aid in Spring Lake, MI.

 

From the standardization of equipment to the growth of our referral network, each entity will experience gains that will ultimately lead to more people served, around the world. The positive effects of this merger will be felt in more places, by more people, for many years to come.

 

We will remain committed to our partnerships and donors who make our ministries successful. We will continue to carry out our obligations to our funders with integrity. Together, we will become an even better steward of our donor’s entrusted gifts by increasing operational efficiencies to maximize our resources and reach.

 

RESPONDING TOGETHER

 

CURE hospitals will continue to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God, now with the institutional consistency of common equipment and excellent biomedical technology services provided by International Aid.

 

• Over 100 shipments of medical equipment and supplies have gone to CURE hospitals from International Aid since January 2019.

 

• Four additional containers are going out in the next quarter to Ethiopia, Uganda, Niger and Kenya.

 

• In fiscal year 2020, 14 biomedical engineer trips are planned to include hospital equipment maintenance and training.

 

Together, we will continue to serve some of the most under resourced and underserved people in the world regardless of race, gender or ethnicity.

 

ABOUT CURE INTERNATIONAL

 

CURE International operates charitable hospitals and programs in 14 countries worldwide where patients experience the life-changing message of God’s love for them, receiving surgical treatment regardless of gender, religion, or ethnicity.

 

Since its founding in 1996, CURE hospitals have performed more than 205,000 procedures, and surgeons trained by CURE have performed more than 13,000 procedures to treat hydrocephalus and spina bifida.

 

Most importantly, we have seen God move in the lives of our patients, their families, and their communities and have had the opportunity to reach more than one million people with the good news of the gospel and witness more than 190,000 expressions of faith in Jesus Christ.

 

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL AID

 

International Aid’s mission is to glorify Christ by providing medical equipment and health resources to global partners serving people in need. International Aid is one of the largest reconditioners of medical equipment in the nonprofit world and is committed to good stewardship by only sending appropriate, sustainable shipments to partners in areas of greatest need. It also works to direct medicines, health products and nutritional supplements from socially responsible corporations to ministries and humanitarian organizations.

 

At the heart of International Aid’s mission is compassion and to tangibly demonstrate the love of Jesus to those who are suffering. In fiscal year 2019, International Aid has equipped 92 partners worldwide with $30 million of aid that they depend on to bring healing and restoration to those who desperately need the One True Healer.

 

Visit cure.org or internationalaid.org to learn more about our work.

Muskegon Community College seeks input on local higher education

Muskegon Community College is conducting a survey to help us better understand how people currently feel about the local higher education options and what people in our area care about regarding higher education.

 

This survey will take people about 6 – 7 minutes to complete.

 

Respondents are not asked to provide any contact information and all information will be anonymous.

 

The link is below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KNN2ZZQ

A Fresh Look: City Center Arts, LLC

The former Red Lotus Center for the Arts that has been located at 356 W. Western Avenue in downtown Muskegon, lower level of the Century Club Retail Center since 2014, is starting a new chapter. It is under new ownership and has been renamed City Center Arts, LLC.

 

The mission of the gallery is to curate, present and sell the work of emerging and established artists from the Muskegon and surrounding areas with the vision of being a vibrant space where artists can continue to grow in their knowledge and expertise while engaging with the community thru programs that inspire, challenge, support and educate the appreciation and value of the visual arts. City Center Arts is primarily local West Michigan artists, many of whom continue to be members from Red Lotus Center for the Arts. City Center Arts is open to non-member artists and member artists to participate in our programs. Come share the arts with us and our community when we reopen after a couple of weeks of remodeling and rebranding with a new logo, website, and décor.

 

We will reopen with the upcoming Black and White Show on January 29th .

 

Black and White Show Opening January 29th. Classic, dynamic, bold! The Black and White show is all about the best classic art with a new edge. It’s a new year, a new owner and a new audience! We are starting the new year off with the classic, the bold, the big, the stunning, the beautiful and the best for The Black and White Show. This is a show with everything from photography to 3D pieces. Come see what the new gallery has for you. You’re invited to the Black & White Gala Event starting at 6:00pm on January 31st.

 

Details can be found on our new website: www.citycenterarts.com

 

The gallery will continue offering its successful Open Mic Night which will continue on the 4th Friday of the month starting in February. The fourth Friday of every month from 7:00pm – 9:00pm, come to City Center Arts for Muskegon’s longest running open mic event! Any kind of talent is welcome; songs, poems, readings, comedy, plays, dancing or whatever other skill you want to show off. Observers are welcome, too.

 

We make art accessible! Please contact us with any questions.

 

Renae Hesselink
Owner/Directo
City Center for the Arts
renae@citycenterarts.com
(231) 260-6697 gallery

Best Practices for Small Businesses to Combat Cybersecurity Threats

Companies need a front-line defense against malware and other threats, or risk crippling consequences of a breach

Cybersecurity attacks have become a destructive and all too common occurrence. And the harsh reality is that no organization is too large – or too small – to be a target.

 

While cyberattacks facing large corporations and government entities may dominate headlines, small businesses are victim to the majority of cybersecurity breaches. In fact, nearly half of small businesses in the United States suffered a cyberattack in 2017, according to a recent study.

 

Cybersecurity attacks are constantly evolving to accommodate the latest technologies. Small businesses contend with several existing and emerging internet-related threats, including malware, ransomware, phishing and botnet infections.

 

Faced with increased competition and restricted resources, it is easy to imagine the daunting challenge small businesses face to defend themselves from nefarious cyber actors. But as the threat landscape becomes increasingly sophisticated and prevalent, small businesses cannot afford inaction.

 

Small Business’ Path to Cyber Safety

For businesses large and small it’s less about “if” a breach will happen and more about “when” it will happen. That’s why it’s best to invest in protection and prevention before a crippling attack occurs. According to security firm Kaspersky, the average cost of a breach in North America is $149,000. Just as damaging, the loss in public trust and reputation can be irreparable.

 

Cybersecurity keeps business owners up at night because they face an onslaught of challenges, from various, ever-changing forms of cyberthreats that can result in the loss of sensitive information or the disruption of business operations. When it comes to defending against cybersecurity threats, owners need solutions that can protect all devices connected to their networks without straining budgets.

 

In the past, cybersecurity tools were developed to suit the needs of larger companies, which have the money and resources available to deploy complex solutions and continually enhance security networks. Now, many small businesses are turning to cloud-based internet security solutions that are engineered to help them effectively manage the growing risk of cyberattacks while maximizing resources without compromising security.

 

In many cases, small businesses have already established a digital infrastructure but lack the bandwidth to expand it further. Using cybersecurity technology that can be built into existing hardware offers these businesses an all-in-one solution that requires no additional investments in equipment or setup. To further maximize their cybersecurity investments, small businesses can look for tools that automatically cover all connected devices on their networks, from mobile phones to wireless printers, without requiring new software installations.

 

Comprehensive cybersecurity solutions shouldn’t just protect small businesses against external breaches – tools that block access to compromised or malicious domains can help prevent business owners, employees, or guests from accidentally accessing an infected internet site. Businesses with little to no IT support can also look for tools with dashboards and features that can be customized based on their needs. For example, a tool that allows owners to filter web content will give them more visibility into their network safety.

 

The ability to gather insights from cybersecurity solutions is critical, but sometimes there is not enough time in a fast-paced work day to pull a threat assessment. Tools that automatically update internet domain threats in real-time can protect companies from attacks without needing manual downloads or updates. Your business works hard to carve out a competitive space – your cybersecurity tools should be a hassle-free addition to the workplace.

 

To learn more about Comcast Business security solutions, please call or email:

734-277-9910 or email alexandra_barron@comcast.com  

 

By: Jeffrey Marston, VP of Business Services, Comcast Business

Lisa Stafford, SHRM-CP, joins Training Direct LLC

Lisa Stafford has officially joined Training Direct in the role of Strategic Business Partner.  Her role will be focused on matching talent to opportunity, igniting cultural change and unleashing the power of teams. She brings with her thirty years of Human Resources experience with the last 24 years as a Human Resources Manager for a large automotive supplier.  Lisa holds a BA degree from Michigan State University.

 

“Lisa Stafford is an outstanding addition to our Training Direct team as she brings solid experience to help employers match talent with opportunity,” said John Heiss, Chief Servant Officer.

 

Training Direct is a PXT Select™ Authorized Partner.  PXT Select, a Wiley brand, offers superior selection and employee-assessment solutions that fill the gap between the resume and the interview. By identifying the most suitable candidates, organizations reduce turnover, boost employee engagement, and ultimately invest in improving in their workplace.

 

For over three decades Training Direct has helped to enhance the effectiveness and productivity of individuals, teams and leaders in organizations.

 

Organizational success begins with matching talent to opportunity. Are you ready to hear more about this talent management solution that gets results?  I would like to invite you to contact us at Training Direct to hear more about creating positive change.

 

Please visit our website at www.trainingdirectllc.com

Muskegon Credit Unions Join Forces, CEO retires

Service 1 Federal Credit Union is excited to announce a partnership with cross-town credit union SB Community Federal Credit Union. The two entities merged after SB Community FCU members overwhelmingly approved the union in September, 2019.

 

SB Community FCU’s nearly 2,000 members were added to the Service 1 FCU membership as of October 1, 2019, bringing the overall membership to more than 21,000 in three states: Michigan, Missouri and Alabama.

 

The former SB Community FCU—formed in 1952 as Shaw Box Employees Federal Credit Union—remains open to serve members at 991 W. Broadway Ave. in Roosevelt Park. Upgrades including new signage, computer equipment, and additional office space have been added.

 

“We’re excited for the opportunity to serve SB members with enhanced services over a larger network of locations,” said Service 1 FCU CEO Kim Bourdo. “Adding this location in Roosevelt Park makes us stronger, more convenient, and well equipped to competitively serve members into the future.”

 

Longtime SB Community FCU CEO Pam Hanophy announced her retirement with the transition. “Dedicating my career to the credit union movement has been an honor,” remarked Hanophy. “I’m grateful to have worked with a wonderful board of directors and many talented individuals whose mission is to improve the lives of members. The highlight will always be the wonderful people I’ve met.”

 

Hanophy led the $13.2 million credit union through changes in the financial landscape for 22 years. She served on the M.O.O.N. Chapter of Credit Unions Executive Board and on the board of the Michigan Credit Union Foundation, and is a board member of the Roosevelt Park Downtown Development Authority. She began serving as the supervisory committee chairperson for the Service 1 FCU Board of Directors in November.

 

Service 1 FCU members can take advantage of exclusive benefits like low loan rates, electronic and mobile banking options, rewards checking and savings, high-yield share certificates and IRAs, special kids’ club accounts and other financial service solutions at three area locations: 1075 E. Sherman Blvd., near Roberts; 1625 Eastwind, off Harvey St., and 991 W. Broadway Ave., off Henry St. Hours vary by location and can be found by visiting www.service1fcu.com.

Smith Haughey Ranked as a 2020 Top-Tier Law Firm by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”

Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge is pleased to announce that the firm has been ranked among the top law firms in the United States in the 2020 edition of “Best Law Firms,” which is published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers.

 

The publication’s tiered list ranks law firms based on both practice areas and metropolitan areas.

 

Smith Haughey received first tier ratings in the following areas:

Ann Arbor

• Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Grand Rapids

• Arbitration

• Bet-the-Company Litigation

• Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

• Commercial Litigation

• Family Law

• Health Care Law

• Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants

• Litigation – Construction

• Litigation – Insurance

• Mediation

• Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

• Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Smith Haughey also received the following second tier rankings:

Grand Rapids

• Environmental Law

• Family Law Mediation

• Litigation – Environmental

• Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs

• Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants

• Tax Law

 

Finally, Smith Haughey also received the following third tier rankings:

Grand Rapids

• Construction Law

• Insurance Law

 

U.S. News and Best Lawyers joined forces to create the list of top law firms for its 10th consecutive year. The rankings provide a comprehensive view of the U.S. legal profession that is unprecedented both in the range of firms represented and in the range of data used to develop the rankings. Law firms were evaluated using surveys submitted by attorneys, clients, marketing officers, and recruitment officers. The surveys gathered data pertaining to expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, civility, integrity, client profiles, diversity, pro-bono commitment, and more.