About Northern Initiatives

Northern Initiatives is a Community Development Financial Institution. We’re in business to provide loans and business services to small business owners and entrepreneurs who create jobs and enable the communities of Northern rural Michigan and neighboring Wisconsin to thrive.

Being mission-driven sets us apart, positioning us to enhance offerings of traditional lending institutions. Our loan programs and special business services empower our organization to more aggressively find funding for business owners and entrepreneurs whose ideas and dreams benefit our communities.

What’s a CDFI?

A Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) is a private financial institution that provides loans to small business owners, entrepreneurs, and community organizations that might not qualify for loans from traditional banks for a variety of reasons. Many times, lending is focused on low-income, disadvantages, and undeserved communities.

CDFIs are certified by the Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which provides funds to CDFIs through a variety of programs.

Extensive Experience In Lending to Start-Ups and Small Businesses

In February of 2016, we reached a major milestone – $50 million in loans to small businesses. Since 1992, we have helped hundreds of small businesses, many of them startups, from a variety of key industry sectors, including: retail, breweries and vineyards, light manufacturing, salons and spas, tourism, restaurants, professional services, and value-added food producers – primarily in underserved communities. 

We’ve made over 860 loans to entrepreneurs and small business owners that might not qualify for financing from traditional banks for a variety of reasons.


Recognizing small business owners need more than just capital to grow, we provide every loan customer complimentary access to online money, marketing, and management support. Business owners also have the opportunity to connect with a business coach to help them reach their goals and navigate their everyday challenges and opportunities.


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