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 or download our brochure, 10 Reasons to do Business in Michigan's Great Southwest (PDF).

  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 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 is a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. This means that the county is able to implement brownfield plans for properties on behalf of a municipality. Also, properties that are blighted or obsolete may also qualify for capture of these same taxes under the Core Communities Initiative. Contact BCCDD at 269-983-7111, ext. 8617 for more information.

Industrial Facilities Tax Abatement

Industrial facilities (including high-technology facilities), machinery and equipment are eligible to receive an exemption of real and personal property taxes for up to 12 years. This tax savings is realized when the company pays its Industrial Facilities Tax (IFT). Berrien County Economic Development administers tax abatements to industrial facilities in the county at no charge.

For obsolete machinery or plants, a 100% property tax exemption is granted on the value of the improvement. For new plant an/or machinery and equipment, the tax is half the local property tax millage rate, plus the 6-mill statewide education tax, reducing the property tax by almost 50%. For a speculative building, the local government must declare a manufacturing facility it as such. Then, costs are eligible for a property tax reduction by almost 50%. Since tax abatements are time-sensitive and procedure-oriented, it is best to contact either Cornerstone Alliance at 269-925-6100 or Southwest Michigan Economic Growth Alliance at 269-683-1833 for more information prior to any commencement.

Renaissance Zones

Berrien County has renaissance zones in Benton Harbor and Benton Charter Township. Renaissance zones are areas that are virtually tax-free for any business or resident located in one of the zones. Some Renaissance Zones are currently phasing out. Please contact the BCCDD to find out about a location you are interested in. Call BCCDD at 269-983-7111, ext. 8617 for more information on Renaissance Zones.

Other Revolving Loan Funds

Five local municipalities, Benton Charter Township, City of Buchanan, Village of Galien, City of Niles and Village of Stevensville, offer revolving loan funds. A municipality can 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.

Cornerstone Alliance offers a revolving loan fund for new and existing businesses within Berrien County. The program targeted to small businesses that have had difficulty accessing regular credit markets. The size of these loans and the interest rate are determined on a case-by-case basis. For more information, please email Cornerstone Alliance or call 269-925-6100.

SBA Microloan

Cornerstone Alliance Small Business Services provides credit to small businesses requiring small-scale financing from $500 up to $50,000. The program provides loans to start-up, newly established, or growing for-profit small businesses in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties. For more information please visit the Cornerstone Alliance website, email Cornerstone Alliance, or call 269-925-6100.