• Economic Development

  • Van Buren County Population Statistics

    The Van Buren County 2017 population estimate is 75,353 with a median household income of $47,141.

    Click this link to open the U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts page showing the most recent census information for Van Buren County, Michigan and the United States.


    Van Buren County Revolving Loan Fund

    Whether you need $20,000 or $100,000 to grow your business, the Van Buren County Economic Development Corporation's revolving loan fund might be a solution if you:

    • Need working capital or new equipment

    • Want to expand your operations by launching a new product or adding on to your current structure

    • Need to close the gap between your investment and the amount the bank is willing to loan you

    • Have been turned down by a lender or approved for too little capital for your project

    • To learn more about accessing the revolving loan fund, contact Katie Multhauf at Market Van Buren, (269) 351-2007


  • Networking

    Young Professionals, a personal and professional development program led by the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce. The program encourages young business people to develop and enhance leadership skills, exchange ideas, share common interests, learn more about the area’s business community, and engage in the community’s future.

    Women's Business Center (WBC), committed to empowering women and minorities economically through access to capital assistance programs, business development training, vendor certification, and business-to-business networking.  We provide effective business tools and remove barriers that hinder the development of successful, sustainable businesses.  Our work strengthens the community by building collaborative partnerships and leveraging resources that increase equitable business growth opportunities.


    Kinexus Group:

    Kinexus Group is a statewide non-profit that inspires positive economic change one person, one business, one community a time. They have a family of organizations and support Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties through their many subsidiaries, Michigan Works! Berrien Cass Van Buren, Market Van Buren, Manufacturing Growth Alliance, and Youth Solutions. To learn more about Kinexus Group, visit Kinexus.org or look at their annual report here.

    • Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren connects individuals of all ages to education and training to meet the needs of employers. The business team at Michigan Works! can support employers with resources, customized training, recruitment and job fairs, and more. To learn more, visit miworks.org.

    • Market Van Buren creates an environment for economic growth in Cass and Van Buren Counties. The economic development organization supports employers in Cass and Van Buren counties through business retention and expansion efforts, fund development, government affairs, supply chair and workforce development. To learn more, visit marketvanburen.org.

    • Manufacturing Growth Alliance is a statewide organization that serves Michigan's small to medium sized manufacturers and helps them grow. If you are a small to medium-sized manufacturer experiencing the complications that come with second-stage growth, becoming a member of MGA would be a great option for you. To learn more, visit mgalliance.org.

    • Youth Solutions is a statewide organization committed to closing the gap between education and workforce development by providing Michigan’s young people with equitable access to education and employment pathways. To learn more, visit ouryouthsolutions.org.

    Pure Michigan Talent Connect is another resource to find skilled workers. www.mitalent.orgVan Buren Tech Center offers 29 different educational programs to high school students. Those students in turn look for opportunities to use those skills in the community in a related position. Areas of study range from computer networking to graphic design. For more information call 269.539.5323 or go to www.vbisd.org.

    Business Counseling

    SCORE Kalamazoo/Southwest Michigan is dedicated to helping you succeed. We provide FREE mentoring to new and established small businesses throughout Southwest Michigan. Contact your local SCORE office at: https://swmi.score.org (269) 344-1419 ch.admin0433@scorevolunteer.org

    Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) provides consulting, training, technology commercialization and secondary research to new, growing and advanced technology companies. More information can be found at www.sbdcmichigan.org or at 269-387-6004.

    Lakeshore 504 Small Business Lending Lakeshore 504 provides small businesses with fixed-rate financing at below market rates for as little as 10% down. They offer 10 or 20 year terms and can partner with your existing lender to structure your project!  If your company needs a new building or is looking to expand its existing facility, please contact www.lakeshore504.org or contact the Chamber 269-637-5171 so we can put you in contact with the appropriate person.

    Selling to the Government

    Procurement and Technical Assistance Center assists businesses in selling their products and services to the nation's largest consumer, the government. Services are free of charge to companies located in Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren Counties. For more information, go to: www.ptacsofmichigan.org and www.aptac-us.org.

  • Brownfield Redevelopment

    Click this link to see the Van Buren County Brownfield Redevelopment website.

    Click here for an overview of program goals and site eligibility.

    Michigan Brownfield Program Overview

    In Michigan, Brownfield sites can be found in cities with long histories of heavy industry and large-scale manufacturing activity and in small towns and rural communities. Brownfields are often defined as properties that are contaminated (referred to as "facilities"). However, Brownfields can also be blighted, functionally obsolete, or historic properties. Regardless of their classification, all Brownfield properties face economic impediments to reuse and redevelopment.

    The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is the State of Michigan's economic development agency and through their Community Development Programs, offer guidance for local-government officials, prospective developers and businesses as they navigate through the Brownfield redevelopment process. Van Buren County has a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) to support and offer local guidance (see below). 

    The incentives administered by the MEDC have led to increased private investment, job creation and the cleanup/improvement of the Brownfield conditions at many sites. These activities are completed throughout the state and in coordination with the Community Assistance Team (CAT), the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Brownfield and redevelopment programs, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region 5 Brownfield Program.

    Van Buren County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (VBCBRA)

    In June of 2002, the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners established a County-wide Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to assist in the revitalization of contaminated properties throughout the county. The Authority is administered by the Van Buren County Land Services Department. Brownfield project funding is generally made possible through the use of incremental taxes generated by redevelopment projects approved in a Brownfield Plan. Periodically, other funding sources may be available to provided assistance. In 2016, the Authority was awarded a fourth Brownfield Assessment Grant that can be used to assess the environmental conditions on sites suspected of being impacted by petroleum products or hazardous substances. 

    Each source of funding has its own list of eligible activities. Nevertheless, funding assistance is generally provided for the following activities:

    • Phase I & II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs)
    • Soil, Soil Gas, Groundwater Sampling & Laboratory Analysis
    • Lead & Asbestos Surveys
    • Baseline Environmental Assessments (BEAs)
    • Documentation of Due Care Compliance 
    • Brownfield Plans
    • Act 381 Work Plans
    • Remediation & Cleanup Planning
    • Demolition
    • Due Care Response Activities

    The Authority supports projects throughout Van Buren County that require financial assistance with assessing potential environmental roadblocks or concerns. Michigan's Brownfield Redevelopment programs are some of the best in the nation - providing communities and developers of Brownfields with:

    • Liability protection (for pre-existing environmental contamination)
    • Opportunities for reimbursement of environmental expenditures
    • Opportunities for low-cost loans
    • Reimbursement of eligible redevelopment activities including demolition and asbestos/lead abatement costs