• 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 $10,000 or $1,000,000 to launch or 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 Jeff Hannan at Kinexus, 269-927-1064 x 1171.

  • Networking

    Inforum connects women through a network of thought leaders and to help members meet personal and professional potential and achieve success. www.inforummichigan.org. Annual fee and event fees required.

    The Michigan PeerSpectives Network brings together eight to twelve qualified entrepreneurs for collaborative sessions. Owners, CEOs, and Presidents share their management challenges and problem solving ideas through confidential and structured roundtables led by a trained facilitator. Contact Melissa Angel at the SBTDC at 269.615.2804.
    Professional and Executive Association of Kalamazoo (PEAK) provides a support network for women in professional, executive, and management positions. They have a monthly luncheon program. Annual and luncheon fee is required. Contact Melissa Angel at the SBTDC at 269.615.2804.

    Southwest Michigan Professionals Network provides networking one evening per month throughout the year. Event fees may be applicable, but many events are sponsored. See LinkedIn to request an invitation, or contact Melissa Angel at the SBTDC at 269.615.2804.
    The Michigan Rural Council (MRC) is a public/private partnership whose charge is to develop new, collaborative approaches to build sustainable communities and to enhance the future of Michigan citizens. The Rural Council focus on team building, education and information, technical assistance and leadership development. Through these approaches, MRC believes that Michigan can implement a comprehensive and integrated policy for building sustainable communities. www.rural.cedam.info/

    People

    Kinexus, a non-profit working in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties, regularly convenes manufacturers to discuss and strategically address their challenges and opportunities for collaboration. To learn more, or to join the Southwest Michigan Manufacturing Forum, please contact Corey Carolla  here.

    The workforce development division at Kinexus provides employer-customized trainings, incumbent worker training, recruiting assistance, pre-screened applicants, and presorted resumes. They also host job fairs and interview days. To learn more visit Kinexus.org or call 269-927-1064.

    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.

    MRC Industries provides employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities by partnering with businesses. MRC Industries' business services include janitorial, assembly, packaging, sorting, bulk mailing and general labor. To learn more visit www.mrcindustries.org or call 269.343.0747.

    Business Counseling

    Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) provides consulting and training services to small businesses. Contact your local SCORE office at https://kalamazoo.score.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