FLINT, Mich.–()–A new Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance report found that improving small businesses’ access to capital is critical to helping locally owned enterprises succeed and diversifying the region’s economy.

Additionally, the 2021 Genesee County Small Business Analysis found that an entrepreneurial support system that fosters networks and cultivates strong leaders is essential to the region’s long-term sustainability. The report also highlights the importance of increasing the visibility of Flint & Genesee businesses through target marketing or “shop local” initiatives as an effective and efficient way to build a resilient and vibrant local business community.

“We want to reduce obstacles for small business owners to be successful while clearing a pathway for the development of new and innovative local industries,” said Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance. “From these findings, we can determine the resources and strategies to aid current and future local small business owners and strengthen our local economy.”

The report’s findings are based on the input of 350 small businesses that responded to the Genesee County Small Business Landscape Survey, conducted earlier this year by Ann Arbor-based research firm EntryPoint. The report also includes economic and business data from other sources, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and CB Insights, and interviews with several respondents for more detailed knowledge of the county’s small business community.

The study focused on registered small businesses with 25 full-time employees or fewer and less than $10 million in average annual revenue.

Key findings:

  • Businesses in the professional services (31%), food and beverage (17%), and retail (13%) sectors are the most prominent, followed by art, entertainment and recreation and nonprofits.
  • 83% of minority-owned businesses are under 15 years old and more than half are in their first five years of business.
  • 29% of small business owners reported having difficulty obtaining outside funding due to a lack of access to the necessary network of individuals or organizations who might invest in their companies.
  • 75% of small business owners anticipate needing additional outside funding for their businesses to continue operating successfully.
  • 61% of small businesses believe the best way for policy and economic development organizations to support their companies is to increase access to capital or provide financial support directly.

Full report: 2021 Genesee County Small Business Analysis