Study: Genesee County Small Businesses Need More Funding

Ann Arbor-based non-profit research institution EntryPoint, along with the Flint and Genesee Economic Alliance (FGEA), has released the 2021 Genesee County Small Business Analysis.
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Downtown Flint Business District
EntryPoint and the Flint and Genesee Economic Alliance have released the 2021 Genesee County Small Business Report. Flint’s downtown (above) has many small business as the largest city in the county. // Stock Photo

Ann Arbor-based non-profit research institution EntryPoint, along with the Flint and Genesee Economic Alliance (FGEA), has released the 2021 Genesee County Small Business Analysis.

The annual report provides a comprehensive analysis of Genesee County’s small business community, consisting of more than 3,000 businesses with 25 or fewer employees and less than $10 million in average annual revenue.

“We are focused on reducing obstacles for small business owners to be successful while clearing a pathway for the development of new and innovative local industries,” says Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of FGEA. “From these findings, we can determine the resources and strategies to aid current and future local small business owners and strengthen our local economy.”

Acquiring outside funding is a key issue in the study, with 29 percent of small business owners reporting that they don’t have the necessary network of people or tools to find potential investors. Three-quarters of small business owners anticipate needing outside funding to continue operations.

The funding, according to 61 percent of business owners surveyed, is best accessed through public policy and economic development organizations that award grants or provide direct financial support in other ways. Prior to the pandemic, the most common network of capital support in the county were friends, family, along with donations from high-net worth individuals.

Services (31 percent), food and beverage (17 percent), and retail (13 percent) are the most prominent businesses, followed by art, entertainment, recreation, and non-profits.

More than half of Black and Indigenous owned business have been operating for five years or less, while 83 percent are less than 15 years old.

“Research helps economic development organizations and nonprofits gain a deeper understanding of the evolving needs, challenges and opportunities facing small business owners,” says Emily Heintz, founder and managing Director of EntryPoint. “By focusing on the lived experiences of small business owners, we can create a strong foundation of knowledge, resulting in impactful and equitable outcomes that foster inclusive and vibrant communities.”

EntryPoint is an institution that aims to promote entrepreneurship across the Midwest by building relationships with corporations, community foundations, entrepreneurial support organizations, and other groups to come away with the highest quality data available.

The Flint and Genesee Economic Alliance is a division of the Flint and Genesee Group and leads the county’s economic development by providing tools, resources, and guidance to companies of all sizes.

To read the full report, click here.

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