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.

  1. County Programs
  2. Local Programs
  3. MEDC Programs

County Programs

Brownfield Redevelopment
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. 

Local Programs

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
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.

Other Incentives
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. 

State Programs

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.