March 15, 2017

Media Contacts:  Mike Wendling, C3, 810-985-2420 
                            Dan Casey, Economic Development Alliance 810-982-9511


St. Clair County, Michigan -- The Community Capital Club (C3) of St. Clair County is pleased to announce it will grant $20,000 in pre-seed funding to the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County to support entrepreneurial development in the region.  The grant and additional funding from EDA will form the new Emerge Fund in support of virtual clients of The Underground Incubator and Business Service Center.

The Community Capital Club is a component fund of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. “We’re proud to be part of the effort to grow our local entrepreneurial community,” said Mike Wendling, Chair of C3 and a board member of the Community Foundation.  “Local entrepreneurs are often deeply vested in their communities and its people.  If an entrepreneur becomes successful and we are able to be a small part of that, it’s like the gift that truly keeps on giving.  The dividends back to our community have a return on investment that cannot be measured simply in jobs or new business starts."

“Nationally, the most successful entrepreneurial communities are those that are rich in capital resources for startups,” said CEO of the Economic Development Alliance, Dan Casey.  “The Emerge Fund will allow us to invest in early-stage startups.  We’ll then support them with wrap-around services and help them to launch their businesses and tap into angel and venture capital.”

Entrepreneurs face a host of challenges when they launch their business, and access to early stage funding can be critical.  Casey said that the Emerge Fund will provide early capital that entrepreneurs can use to hire consultants to write a business plan, develop a website, or file a patent.

EDA is launching a virtual incubator program in conjunction with The Underground Incubator which opens in early April.  To be eligible for the Emerge Fund, entrepreneurs have to apply to become a virtual tenant.  The applications are available at  A review panel makes the final decision on which companies are funded.

“We’re looking for companies that have big ideas and will create jobs,” said Casey.  “This program is all about launching the next generation of businesses in the Blue Water area.”

Companies that are approved in the virtual program will receive $5,000 grants, a hand-picked advisory board, and access to the incubator’s resources and training programs.

Wendling said that the C3 Club is focused on helping companies to reach their growth potential.  “The Emerge Fund will give the earliest stage companies their start and those that survive and grow we want to consider for future investments.”

The Community Capital Club manages a $300,000 fund from area members and is actively seeking companies to invest in.

For more information on the Community Capital Club, contact the Community Foundation of St. Clair County at (810) 984-4761.

For more information on the Emerge Fund, contact the EDA at (810) 982-9511.

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Community Foundation of St. Clair County