Small Business Resources

The lakeshore is full of resources to help you grow your business…

Before you look any further, it is important to consider what development stage your business is currently in.

STAGE ONE First-time/start-up business
Are you starting a business for the first time?  The early stages of development can determine your profitability in the years to come.  It is important that you work closely with the start-up mentor organization to increase your chances of success.

STAGE TWO New business – year 1 – 5
Depending on the type of business you own, your “new business’ stage may last anywhere from one to five years.  Now your operations are underway and new resources may be needed, along with a network of professional to support your activities.  If the organizations in this guide don’t have what you’re looking for, they will help you find additional resources.

Your Business Resources…

Still not sure who to contact?  Any of the organizations listed below will spend time helping you identify the resources you need.  Your venture’s success is important to our community’s future.

Servicing businesses is the top priority for the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. We can set the foundation for you to grow your business with the following services:

  • An environment in which you can network and expand connections
  • Low-cost marketing and training opportunities
  • Promotion of your business to the community
  • We will advocate for your business at every opportunity

Explore this site for more information on the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber!

NEW EMERGE_LOGOEmerge is a community-based initiative to create jobs by supporting entrepreneurs and is focused on, but not limited to, the West Michigan Lakeshore region. Their website, is a source of information and practical tools for people in all stages of business. It will lead you to emerge partner organizations and people who can help you succeed. In most cases, this help is readily available for little or no cost.

SCORE is your first stop when starting a business or seeking business counseling. These retired business owners and leaders, counsel business men and women FOR FREE, 5 days a week, by appointment only. They are the perfect resource for anyone in stage one of their business. SCORE also offers several workshops and seminars. To set up a free appointment with a SCORE Counselor visit or contact the Chamber at 231.722.3751.

SBDC logoThe Michigan Small Business Development Center’s consulting services are available to anyone, preferably in stage 2 of business. A certified consultant is available by appointment to assist entrepreneurs already in business with new business ideas, products, expansion issues or general concerns. To set up a free appointment with a MI SBDC Consultant call Dante Villarreal at .616.331.7370 or email

Muskegon Jaycees_Logo_editedThe Jaycees are a young person’s (21 to 40) leadership training organization. Their programs stress the development of the individual member’s leadership and managerial skills through the running of projects that benefit our community and the Jaycees movement as a whole.

Success in the New Economy – Business Tips!

Click here for Top Ten Business Tips from the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for staying in business and growing your business during this transition into the “new economy”.




STAGE THREE Mature business – over 5 years
Even the most experienced entrepreneurs must periodically take a fresh look at their business and make significant changes to meet the needs of the ever-changing market. There are local organizations listed in this guide that are ready and willing to help at this stage.

It’s also important to find out how “Healthy” your business is.  Take this one-page questionnaire to find out if your business is on track… Click here for the Business Fitness Checklist.




Downtown Muskegon has a variety of spaces available that are well-suited for new business startups, especially for those that would benefit from a traditional business district “feel”, at a reasonable price. Downtown Muskegon Now can help you navigate the many considerations that come when starting a business. Click here for more information or call 231.724.3180.

Muskegon Area First is the countywide economic development corporation focused on leveraging public and private investment to accelerate business growth and the creation of high-quality employment opportunities in Muskegon County.  If you are looking to expand or buy a new facility in Muskegon County, please contact them at 231.722.3751 for information on location opportunities and any possible services or incentives offer by the state, city or township. For more information visit

The Muskegon Area First PTAC, serves thirteen counties from their Muskegon office, housed with the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber and Muskegon Area First.   PTAC provides government contracting technical assistance to regional businesses. Various other funding sources are combined to support the special needs of the business community and provide a single point of contact for companies seeking assistance.

The Employers Association of West Michigan assists employers with up-to-date, comprehensive, information to effectively manage their human talent and stay abreast of pertinent business issues. To help members keep pace with the changing complexities and implement best practices, the Employers Association provides publications and samples, survey data, training and development, professional group forums and the on-going assistance of our professional staff. For more information visit or contact 231-724-4005.

Lakeshore 504 can assist you with your fixed asset, machinery and equipment needs. Contact David Miller, Vice President Economic Development, in the Grand Haven office at 616-846-3153 with any questions you have regarding the Lakeshore 504 Loan Program, your fixed asset financing partner. For more information, please click here.

Recommended Readings… 

Click here for a list of books the Chamber Board of Directors recommends for those in business or thinking of starting a business.