Northern Initiatives Prosperity. That's Our Business Logo

Why Northern Initiatives

Capital. It’s the essential building block of every successful business.

From the newest businesses looking to get started, to established businesses looking to get bigger, sooner or later all businesses need capital. Both kinds of capital.
Financial and Intellectual. Money and know-how.


At Northern Initiatives, we’ve been helping businesses in this part of the country get their hands on both for over 20 years. We’ve lent over $45 million to businesses throughout Northern Michigan.


And now, with the introduction of our new Business Advancement Portal, we’re doing more than ever to prepare businesses for what lies ahead. Whether they’re just starting out or have been around the block a few times. It’s a multifaceted tool that can help you and your team meet the challenges of running a business and take advantage of the opportunities today’s economy has to offer. It’s the hardest working business tool for the hardest working business people. It’s only at 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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