Microlending & Small Business Lending

Welcome to GROW’s microloan program, designed to help entrepreneurs start or grow their small businesses, especially when traditional financing is not available. Below are some key points to remember when applying for a microloan, along with some of the program’s guidelines and requirements. If you have any questions about GROW’s microloan program, please e-mail us at info2@growbusiness.org or call us at 616.458.3404.

A few notes about the microloan program:

  • First, the loan is just half of GROW’s microloan program. We want to make sure that you have the support you need be successful, so we will follow up with you regularly to see how we can be of assistance and to connect you with other resources that will benefit you as a business owner. To start this process, you will need to attend our free Intro to GROW class before we close on a loan.
    • Intro is offered in Grand Rapids on the first and third Thursday of every month at noon and 6:00 pm.
    • Intro is offered in Muskegon on the second Thursday of every month
      • Noon at the Muskegon Innovation Hub at GVSU
      • 6:00 pm at Mahali in Muskegon Heights
  • The microloan program is available to small or start-up businesses located in the nine-county West Michigan area.
  • Applicants are required to complete the application form (below), and will also be asked to provide personal financial statements, a business plan with projections, and other supporting documents.
  • We also partner with the Pure Michigan Microlending Initiative, which provides larger loan amounts and has slightly different requirements. More information about that initiative is available here.

Loan Uses

Microloans range from $2,500 to $50,000 and may be used for any of the following:

  • purchase of needed business equipment (such as machinery, fixtures, or furniture)
  • purchase of supplies, materials, or inventory
  • working capital
  • removable leasehold improvements

Loan funds cannot be used for the following:

  • salary or owner’s draw
  • down payment on real estate
  • real estate purchase
  • payroll taxes

Loan Review

When reviewing your application, we look at a number of factors, including:

  • credit history (unique circumstances are taken into account)
  • inability to secure a loan from a commercial bank
  • willingness to provide a personal guarantee in the form of personal and/or business assets, and/or evidence that you can repay the loan


  • Microloans require an application fee of $75, due at loan closing.
  • There is also a 2 percent loan origination fee (based on loan amount requested), also due at closing.


  • Interest rates are determined by loan size.
  • Borrowers have up to six years (72 months) to repay their loan, depending on the loan amount.
  • Quarterly financial statements and copies of income tax filings must be provided for the term of the loan.
  • Monthly payments are automatically deducted from the business bank account.

Download Required Application Documents Checklist  (PDF)