Grants Available for Women Entrepreneurs in Muskegon

Community News |Apr 16, 2024|3 min read

Business Equity Initiative funds supports an economy that works for all


MUSKEGON, MICH. April 18, 2024 – Grants to support women entrepreneurs in Muskegon County are now available, thanks to three women who are targeting financial inequality.

The Business Equity Initiative, founded by Nancy McCarthy, Mary Anne Gorman, and Kim Suarez, is devoted to supporting an economy that works for all. One of the things the women, who have been friends for 20 years, have in common is a passion for racial and social justice, said Suarez. “Equity is a significant issue in Muskegon,” she said, “and lots of people want to help.”

The Initiative is currently accepting applications for its first round of 2024 grants. Women business owners in Muskegon County, especially women of color, are encouraged to apply by May 10. Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 and can used for a variety of needs that are critical to operating a small business, including rent payments, utilities, inventory, and marketing.  The women are also connected with a mentor.

“The BEI Grant overall was an unexpected blessing that I am forever grateful for,” said previous awardee Ebony Davis. “The BEI funds allowed me to purchase the material needed to restock my merchandise and start fresh after a challenging event. The mentorship opportunity is top tier and a hidden jewel that I wish I would have known about sooner. “

Grants have gone to remarkably diverse businesses, said Suarez. “There was a cleaning business, food businesses, a traveling notary public, someone who makes wigs for cancer patients. It’s a real wide range, which is great.”

Applicants must be low- to moderate-income women who own a business registered in Muskegon County or the State of Michigan that has been operational for 1 to 5 years.

The fund is administered by the Community Foundation for Muskegon County and is open to like-minded investors beyond the founding donors.  The seed money came from friends, business owners and others in the Muskegon community. “It has really resonated with our donors,” Suarez said. “They know that investing in women entrepreneurs and supporting diversity and inclusion will build a stronger economy in Muskegon County.”

Grants are being administered by Northern Initiatives, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing loans and business services throughout Michigan. “The BEI Fund directly serves our mission of supporting underserved entrepreneurs who add jobs and help their communities thrive,” said Elissa Sangalli, President of Northern Initiatives.

Grants will be awarded at 5:30 p.m. July 31 at the Greater Muskegon Woman’s Club; the public is welcome to attend.

More information and grant applications are available at:



Northern Initiatives, a Community Development Financial Institution, delivers loans and business services to small business owners and entrepreneurs who create jobs and enable the people and communities of Northern Michigan to thrive. Learn more at