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Northern Economic Initiatives

University Center Suite 1104
1401 Presque Isle Ave.
Marquette, MI 49855

Contact: Dennis J. West, President
Phone: 906-228-5571
Fax: 906-228-5572
Northern Economic Initiatives

Northern Economic Initiatives (NI) Northern Initiatives is a private non-profit community development corporation that provides tailored business solutions to advance and connect rural communities and their economies. Northern Initiatives’ lending and consulting services help rural businesses gain access to capital, information and markets to help keep rural Michigan vital.


NI provides customers with access to capital, information and markets through the following programs:

Lending Services - Loans ranging from $2,000 to $500,000 freestanding or in conjunction with funds from local banks. Loans are particularly tailored for businesses that for whatever reason find it difficult to meet traditional lending institution requirements.

Business Consulting - NI provides a wide range of business consulting services for rural businesses, manufacturers, and service and nonprofit organizations. NI consultants are trained in Lean Manufacturing, Healthcare and Office and are certified Personal Business Advisors. NI is an affiliate of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Centers and a member of the Michigan Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.

Network Building - Northern Initiatives works to build and enhance business sectors to keep rural businesses alive and effective in their markets. NI is working with the timber and forest industry to address issues dealing with changing markets and an aging workforce. The Great Waters nature tourism initiative is building the tourism industry in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, using a brand and website that gives tourists a one-stop information and trip planning resource.

Trees and Tourism- Initiatives includes ones that are designed in increase the value and maximize returns on trees and tourism, while maintaining environmentally sound uses of these assets.

Client Population

One-hundred percent of NI clients are rural. NI clients are 86% male and 14% female and predominately Caucasian (98%), with a small number of American Indians.


Since 1994, Northern Initiatives has made over $25 million in loans while leveraging another $47.5 million in lending assistance to small businesses in rural Michigan. With more than 300 loan customers historically, NI also provides business technical assistance and consulting services to 150 companies on an annual basis. Over 54% of NI loans go to small business startups with 24% to rural manufacturers. Northern Initiatives’ historical charge off rate is below 3.5%. NI’s program work has created or retained over 1164 jobs.


Northern Economic Initiatives
Since 2001, Northern Initiatives has been working with a five-county coalition called the Eastern Upper Peninsula Nature Tourism Alliance (EUPNTA) to develop a series of driving trails that will highlight the eastern Upper Peninsulas natural beauty and attract eco-tourism. The trails will feature logos, images, signage and educational materials that will provide visitors with an organized, educational and satisfying stay in the area while remaining a respectful adventure. Full Story

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