Business Incentives & Resources
A brief summary of county, local, state, and federal programs is provided. The incentives section also contains helpful resources and links. For more information, contact the Berrien County Community Development Department (BCCDD) at 269-983-7111, ext. 8617.
A brownfield is an environmentally contaminated property. Through the Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act, a developer of contaminated property can be reimbursed for eligible environmental activities that they paid for as well as a 10% single business tax credit for the investment in building, demolition, renovation or improvements, machinery and equipment. In addition, cleanup costs are now 50% lower for industrial and commercial properties. Berrien County has a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority that is able to implement brownfield plans for properties on behalf of a municipality. Properties that are blighted or obsolete may also qualify for capture of these same taxes under the Core Communities Initiative. Contact Berrien County Community Development at (269) 983-7111, ext. 8617 for more information.
North Berrien Community Development
North Berrien Community Development is a non-profit community-based corporation that represents the townships and cities of Coloma and Watervliet in their efforts to influence the development and changes within the Paw-Paw Lake area. North Berrien Community Development also provides services as requested to Bainbridge and Hagar Townships. North Berrien Community Development is the resource that the community looks to for the coordination of programs that are grant or loan eligible. It also serves as an information center for the area on projects and players that are influential in the changes within the community. Projects that are sponsored by the organization are varied, but do emphasize the job creation and job maintenance aspects of the community. For more information on the programs available, contact Chana Kniebes at (269) 468-4430.
Cornerstone Alliance is a non-profit, investor driven community and economic development organization focusing on tax and job base creation, with an emphasis on socially and economically distressed areas, facilitating change through partnerships within the communities comprised of Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Benton Charter Township, St. Joseph Charter Township, Lincoln Charter Township, and Royalton Township. To support its mission, Cornerstone Alliance offers economic development tools, public relations services, business and education partnerships, employee recruitment and assimilation, and small business services. For more information, call Cornerstone Alliance at (269) 925-6100.
Greater Niles Chamber
The Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce has been a part of the greater Niles region since 1919, serving communities that include but are not limited to Berrien County, Van Buren County, Three Oaks Village, and the Village of Galien. The Greater Niles Chamber works to foster a diverse and thriving business community through business education, business advocacy, economic development, and through a general focus on the success and growth of industry, trade, civic activities, publicity, and public relations for the greater Niles area. For more information, contact Jeff Rea at (269) 683-1833.
Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber
They are the largest chamber in Southwest Michigan, leading the charge for sustainable growth for our evolving region. They are committed to maximizing talents, vision and trailblazing spirit to continue building upon the strong foundation of existing business, while also attracting new commerce and talent to our area. They are the “Voice of Business” in Michigan’s Great Southwest and are working to achieve economic prosperity throughout the region. For more information, contact Arthur Havlicek at (269) 932-4042.
A few local municipalities, Village of Baroda, City of Buchanan, City of Niles and Village of Stevensville, also offer revolving loan funds. Depending upon availability of funds, Berrien County and a municipality can both provide revolving loans for a specific project to further enhance the equity position of a company with a financial institution. Please check with each municipality for availability.
The Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNJTP) captures employer-paid employee taxes on new jobs in the state to reimburse employer-specific tailored training programs for employees through local community colleges.
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) created the Going PRO Talent Fund to address skill shortages by reskilling and upskilling, ensure employers have the talent required to compete and grow and support employees’ growth opportunities. Up to $1,500 per employee in grant assistance is available to employers that provide credentialed training programs to employees.
Michigan’s State Trade Expansion Program (MI-STEP) offers financial assistance for exporting activities to eligible Michigan small businesses, enabling access to global markets and buyers through a 75% reimbursement of up to $15,000 of eligible expenses.
Through our close connections with the economic development teams at area utility providers, we can help your business leverage utility rebates and rate rider discounts where applicable.
An Industrial Property Tax Abatement (PA 198) reduces the ongoing tax burden for eligible businesses making new investments in the state by abating 50% of net new real taxes on-site developments for up to 12 years.
The Brownfield Redevelopment Program (PA 381) serves to implement brownfield plans and develop brownfield properties. This incentive leverages Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which captures net new taxes on a redevelopment to reimburse the developer for eligible costs.
The Personal Property Tax Relief in Distressed Communities (PA 328) exemption is for all new personal property for specific businesses located within eligible distressed communities.
The Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (PA 146) affords property tax exemptions for up to a period of 12 years on commercial and commercial housing properties that are rehabilitated and meet certain requirements of the act.
For up to a period of 10 years, the Commercial Rehabilitation Act (PA 210) allows a tax incentive for the rehabilitation of commercial property for the primary purpose and use of a commercial business or multi-family residential facility.
Through a State Education Tax (SET) Abatement, Michigan can abate half or all the 6-mill State Education Tax (SET) on new investment when the project presents a significant economic benefit to Michigan.
The State Essential Services Assessment (SESA) Exemption is another program leveraged through the MEDC for companies investing more than $25 million in personal property, where the exemption is equal to 100% of the SESA amount for a period of up to 12 years. Alternative SESAs are equal to a 50% exemption for a period of years.
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are available to both businesses and communities through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), this federal grant program can be used for various infrastructure and development projects.
Attractive to businesses that locate in one of 14 counties that border another state or Canada, Border County Incentives may allow a business to receive up to 100% abatement of business personal property taxes through a partnership between the State of Michigan and local municipalities.
The Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP) is a community-specific program administered by the MEDC on behalf of the MSF that offers communities access to real estate development gap financing for innovative and/or impactful placemaking, historical redevelopment and/or job growth in targeted sectors.
Another MDOT program targeting communities, the Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) seeks to promote increased economic potential and job creation in the state through offsetting construction costs related to transportation projects.
North Berrien Community Development
North Berrien Community Development is a non-profit community-based corporation that represents the townships and cities of Coloma and Watervliet along with the townships of Bainbridge and Hagar in their efforts to influence the development and changes within the Paw-Paw Lake area. North Berrien Community Development is the resource that the community looks to for the coordination of programs that are grant or loan eligible.
It also serves as an information center for the area on projects and players that are influential in the changes within the community. Projects that are sponsored by North Berrien Community Development are varied, but do emphasize the job creation and job maintenance aspects of the community. For more information on North Berrien Community Development and its programs, please contact Chana Kniebes at 269-468-4430.
Cornerstone Alliance is a non-profit, investor-governed, economic development organization primarily focused on increasing employment opportunities, private sector capital investments and the local tax base in Michigan’s Great Southwest; with specialized business services offered in economically distressed areas. Cornerstone Alliance delivers customer-focused economic development solutions through partnerships that grow employment opportunities, increase the tax base and add to the economic vibrancy of Michigan’s Great Southwest. Our reach includes greater Berrien County for all services; some in Cass and Van Buren Counties. For more information, call Cornerstone Alliance at 269-925-6100.
Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance
Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance (SMEGA), Inc. is a nonprofit economic development corporation promoting industrial retention and the creation of jobs in the City of Niles, Niles Township, Bertrand Township, Milton Township, Howard Township, City of Buchanan, and Buchanan Township, with its primary emphasis on the Greater Niles area.
SMEGA is committed to being the primary economic development organization to ensure the retention and creation of jobs and tax base within the Greater Niles and Buchanan area. For information on incentives offered by SMEGA, contact Barkley Garrett at 269-683-1833.
Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Programs
Community Development Block Grants
Community development block grants (CDBG) are state administered federal grants that typically involve public infrastructure projects for economic and community development and housing projects. One of the main goals of the program is to provide businesses with an incentive for location or expansion that will result in permanent job creation or expansion. At least 51% of the jobs must be held by persons with low to moderate income.
To be considered for CDBG funding, a local government must prepare a submittal to MEDC. Contact MEDC at 517-373-9890 or BCCDD at 269-983-7111, ext. 8617 for more information.
Industrial Development Revenue Bonds (IDRB)
IDRBs are an attractive source of financial assistance that provides healthy, profitable firms locating or expanding in Michigan with capital cost savings stemming from the difference between taxable and tax-exempt interest rates. Public facilities which generate a revenue stream (parking structures, for instance) have traditionally been financed by municipalities through the mechanism of a tax-exempt "revenue bond." IDRBs apply this same tax-exempt finance mechanism to the "public purpose" of economic development. The governmental unit borrows money from private capital markets, secured only by the project's revenues (rather than the government's full faith and credit). Interest income earned on bonds issued by a governmental entity to finance a project for a private company which has demonstrated a good public purpose is exempt from federal and state income taxes, thereby reducing the cost of capital to an average 75% to 85% of prime. Contact the MEDC at 517-373-9890 for more information.
Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) is the state's response to interstate competition for company expansions and relocations, and the promotion of high-tech business in traditional and emerging industries (Hi-Tech MEGA) by providing a credit against the Single Business Tax. Companies engaged in manufacturing, research and development, wholesale trade or office operations are eligible to apply for the MEGA credit, while businesses in advanced computing, biotechnology, electronic device technology, engineering and laboratory testing related to product research and development, medical device technology, advanced vehicle technology, or technology that assists in the assessment or prevention of threats or damage to human health or the environment are eligible to apply for the High-Tech MEGA.
Since MEGA's application process has steps that must be completed in a specific order, companies must contact MEDC at 517-373-9808 before announcement or commencement of any project.
Economic Development Job Training
The Economic Development Job Training (EDJT) program seeks to ensure that Michigan employers have the highly trained technical workers they need to compete in the global economy. All Michigan-based companies are eligible to compete for the specialized training funds, which are channeled through community colleges, intermediate school districts, licensed proprietary schools, and trade academies.
The fund is the link between local training providers, employers, economic development organizations, local Michigan Works! agencies, MDCD, and MEDC. Monies can be used to create jobs or upgrade skills for existing workers. Grants are awarded through an annual competition each November.
Michigan Technical Education Center
Michigan has recently established Michigan Technical Education Centers (M-TEC's), one of which is located at Lake Michigan College. These centers are focused on delivering training programs in high-wage, high-skill, high- demand occupations to increase the numbers of skilled employees in these fields.
These centers are designed to promote the highest standard of partnership between business, industry and education skill-based, open-entry, individualized and self-paced training for students and businesses. For more information, contact M-TEC at Lake Michigan College at 269-926-6832.