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GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., Sept. 15, 2020 – Comerica Bank today announced a $112,000 contribution to Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) to aid west Michigan entrepreneurs and small businesses. Comerica and GROW also will continue to provide Comerica Business $ense Boot Camps with the next camp scheduled on Sept. 22.

Comerica’s investment in GROW supports the organization’s ongoing effort to provide critical capital and financial resources and technical assistance to small businesses as they recover and reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In helping GROW stabilize and develop entrepreneurial viability and growth, we understand that small businesses need both financial and technical resources to serve their customers and communities,” said Debra Van Hevele, Comerica Bank senior vice president, retail regional director. “Small businesses impact families and neighborhoods through their services and job opportunities, and our partnership pools valuable resources to support the recovery of businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

West Michigan Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Debra Van Hevele, Comerica Bank senior vice president, retail regional director

Comerica’s contribution adds to the bank’s ongoing support with GROW over recent months. Since June, Comerica has partnered with GROW to provide technical services to small business owners through Business $ense Boot Camp events.

“We appreciate Comerica Bank’s partnership and contribution so we can help small businesses overcome the unforeseen challenges COVID-19 has presented,” said Bonnie Nawara, GROW CEO. “With these funds, we will be able to continue to provide lending opportunities to entrepreneurs in West Michigan, and the next Business $ense Boot Camps will help small businesses connect to tools and information that will help them reach their goals.”

Comerica kicked off its partnership with GROW more than two decades ago with the goal of supporting small businesses. In June, Comerica and GROW launched a virtual business boot camp series, focused on credit history.

West Michigan Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Mike DeMartelaere, Comerica Bank external affairs leader

Thus far, Comerica Bank External Affairs Leader Mike DeMartelaere and Vice President Business Banking Marci Chapin have led Comerica’s Business $ense Bootcamps with GROW focused on numerous topics vitally important for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

To reach more business owners and entrepreneurs, DeMartelaere and Chapin will again partner with GROW on September 22 to present Comerica Business $ense Boot Camp, the fourth session of the series. The upcoming session will focus on credit history – cleaning up a credit report, preparing for access to capital and understanding how credit history affects business operations. For more information and to register, click here. 

Alongside Rosie Orchanian, GROW program and volunteer coordinator, DeMartelaere and Chapin have presented a variety of topics to help small businesses, including the following Comerica Business $ense Boot Camps held thus far:

GROW is one of only 110 certified Women’s Business Centers in the nation, and one of three in the State of Michigan, all in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. GROW assists current and aspiring business owners at various stages of business ownership, and offers professional services via business assessments, planning sessions, trainings and education. Additionally, GROW provides business loans and lending options, designed to help entrepreneurs start or grow their small businesses, especially when traditional financing is not available. This spring, the organization designed a low-interest COVID-19 Working Capital Loan and swiftly deployed a total $235,000 in loans to businesses who were facing crisis as a direct result of the pandemic.

Comerica Bank and Comerica Charitable Foundation are investing a total of $8 million in COVID-19 relief efforts for small businesses and community programming impacted by the pandemic coupled with aid to small and micro businesses and investments directed toward community service organizations providing services to youth, seniors and other vulnerable populations.