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Michigan program aims to help small businesses

A program known as LINC Community Revitalization is offering services to small businesses in a Michigan county with the goal of increasing their sustainability and competitiveness with larger national companies. LINC has three locations across Grand Rapids, each of which houses a number of businesses. Among its nine businesses are a barbershop, radio station, computer repair shop and several restaurants.

Each business or start-up that enrolls in LINC's business incubator program gains access to complimentary classes, training other related resources that help business owners with marketing, networking, business development and legal issues. Enrollees also enjoy reduced rent rates. The program lasts three years. LINC's director of economic development explained that the program aims to teach the program's participants how to run a sustainable, effective business. "If you don't know how to do payroll and taxes, you're most likely going to fail within a number of years," he explained.

The program's first graduate, who recently moved her boutique to its own space, said the program has been invaluable in helping her run her business. The 25-year-old Michigan native explained that she likely would not have been able to succeed without the financial assistance and professional resources she received through LINC. However, she knows she would not have accomplished her goals without her own initiative. "You can have all the tools they give you," she explained. "But at the end of the day, it all comes down to hard work and dedication. I'm willing to give 110 percent."

LINC's organizers hope the program will help convince small businesses to remain in West Michigan when others are fleeing the area. "We want to teach them how to sustain a successful business" explained LINC's economic development director. "Realize that it takes a lot of work, but if you do it right, you will be successful."

Source: MLive, "LINC small business, community revitalization program sees first graduate," Kyle Moroney, Oct. 31, 2012

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