WHAT IS VENTURE NORTH?
Venture North provides small business loans and resources in Northern Michigan for economic and community development. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund, we make capital accessible to entrepreneurs who might not have other avenues to start or grow their business.
We serve low-income and rural communities across Emmet, Charlevoix, Antrim, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Manistee, Wexford, and Missaukee counties in Northern Michigan.
Our team of experts bring decades of experience in small business success, banking, finance, data analysis, and community development. A call to Venture North means an agile response to new opportunities and a belief in the power of entrepreneurs.
Board of Directors
Chair | Hagerty
Secretary | Trudeau Consulting
Director | Brick & Corbett ReMax Bayshore
Vice Chair | DTE Energy
Treasurer | Plascon
President & CEO I Traverse Connect
Director | Cherry Republic
Director I Munson Medical Center
Director | Ann Arbor SPARK
Director I Advantage Benefits
Director | Rotary Charities
In 2015, the Traverse City Area Chamber Foundation and the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation merged into Venture North Funding & Development and named Laura the Executive Director.
Laura manages six separate loan funds across a 10-county region with total assets of more than $7 million. It has funded over $4 million, assisting 70+ businesses throughout the region with expansions, equipment and inventory purchases, working capital and related needs.
Laura has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s in business administration from Lawrence Technological University. Laura served on the Traverse Area Human Resource Association Board of Directors for five years.
She currently serves on the following boards and committees: TART Trails, Shape Up North Advisory Council and Economic Development Foundation Loan Committee. Laura and her husband, John, have three children.
Sara Christensen joined the Venture North team in 2017 as Portfolio Administrator, where she is responsible for managing the flow of information between Venture North clients and loan applicants, underwriting and loan committees, and she provides administrative support to President Laura Galbraith.
She is an experienced professional in community and economic development in the region. Having served as the Community Development Director for Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, a four-county region in Northwest Lower Michigan, where she worked for nine years.
Sara is also a certified and experienced CDBG Grant Administrator through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Sara earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s from Spring Arbor University, both in education.