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New program aims to accelerate Black owned Saginaw businesses

A store in Boston displays a sign noting its Black ownership on June 24, 2020.
Charles Krupa
A store in Boston displays a sign noting its Black ownership on June 24, 2020.

The pilot program Lift ME is trying to boost Black owned businesses in Saginaw.

Black owned businesses in Saginaw have the opportunity to join a program to accelerate their business. It's a pilot program Called Lift Me. Lift Me stands for Leveling the playing field, Increasing representation, Fostering new networks and Turning up your financials.

Courtney Garrett is the Manager of Regional Memberships with the Central Michigan University Research Corporation which created the program. She explained the name 'Lift ME' plays an important part of the initiative.

Garrett said, "we want to level the playing field, make sure that everyone has entrepreneurism... Then increasing the representation. We want to show these are some awesome businesses and get their names out. Then foster their new networks. Get them in, build their network... And then turning up your financials. Everyone needs a little bit of help in that financial piece..."

Garrett also said the program will create "trackable milestones," tailored for each businesses.

Erin Strang is the President and CEO of the Central Michigan University Research Corporation. She said the main goal of the program is to help Black owned businesses gain exposure in the community.

Strang said, "we really want to integrate and get our first cohort of black owned business entrepreneurs and extend their network and really help them expand."

In order to apply, applicants must identify as Black, have founded or be currently conducting business in Saginaw, have a pre-established business, and not be a franchise or affiliated with a chain.

Applications for the Lift ME program are open through March 31st. Members of the cohort will be announced on May 4th.

For more information or to apply, visit

Ella Pierzecki is a freshman at Central Michigan University. She is majoring in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts and minoring in Journalism and Political Science. Ella is from Canton, Michigan where she loves to play with her dog. She is a huge baseball fan and loves cheering on the Detroit Tigers. At WCMU, Ella is excited to meet new people and develop her skills in journalism.