2017-08-10 / Business

Sawmill Rural Business Center awarded $89K in funding

The Sawmill Rural Business Cen­ter recently received nearly $89,000 in various grant monies for continued ru­ral business and economic development support.

“I can’t put into words the joy in my heart, but I can say, ‘the proof is in the pudding.’ In these first few months we’ve had successes that have shown that our services are needed and valu­able,” Sawmill Executive Director Di­ane Love-Suvada said.

In the months since the Sawmill contracted with the Roscommon Down­town Development Authority to begin its work supporting the local business dis­trict and setting up a co-working space, it has proven itself in results, according to a press release.

Love-Suvada wrote in a press release that in the past seven months, there have been 20 consultations, six ongoing client engagements, the formation of eight new businesses that created 12 new jobs and activation of two empty buildings in the Roscommon Village limits with retail businesses. Still within the Roscommon area, the Sawmill has assisted with the launch of a much-needed day care fa­cility, a farm-to-table extended-season produce operation and a cottage-food product line.

As part of its programming initia­tives, the Sawmill has partnered with Kirtland Community College to offer workshops for youth entrepreneurship over the 2017 summer break and is also working on a future externship program for KCC’s business students. The Saw­mill also was a sponsor of the Heart of Michigan Beer and Wine Festival hosted by the Young Professionals of Northern Michigan to make aware to Michigan’s young professionals that it is possible to live, play and thrive in northern Michi­gan.

The Sawmill has been hard at work seeking grant support for ongoing fund­ing including the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments, Region 3 Prosperity Initiative, which gave the Sawmill its seed money last summer in the amount of $5,000. This past May, it followed that with another $5,000 to support the Sawmill’s first entrepreneur­ship program, The Springboard Summit, launching September, 2017, in partner­ship with the Small Business Develop­ment Center of Michigan and Roscom­mon County Economic Development Corporation.

Roscommon County Community Foundation also granted a total of $4,252 from two of the funds it manages for lo­cal projects.

The Roscommon Downtown Devel­opment Authority, who gave the Sawmill its first contract earlier this year, has re­newed its contract for services through the end of 2017 with a sum of $19,240.

Lastly, the Sawmill applied with the United States Department of Agricul­ture Rural Business Development Grant program for an initial request of $78,000 and was awarded $60,000. The scope of the grant supports equipment purchases, support for the rural business develop­ment programs and operation of a new co-working space for entrepreneurs, startups and existing businesses.

The Sawmill is planning a com­bination grand opening and informa­tional session Aug. 24 from 6-8 p.m. at the Sawmill Workspace, 702 Lake St., Roscommon.

For information, contact Love-Su­vada at 275-5743 ext. 15, or diane@saw­millbusinesscenter.org or visit sawmill. spaces.nexudus.com/en. She said there is also a registration link for the event on the Sawmill’s Facebook page.

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