©2015 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Start Up


Business Assistance

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  • Michigan is committed to your business success. From operating guidance to capital funding to technology assistance, the resources below can help your business start-up become more than just an idea waiting to happen.

  • Business Start-Up and Operating Guidance

    Do You Need Help Starting Your Business?

    The Michigan Small Business Development Center provides counseling, training, research and advocacy for start-ups, existing small businesses and innovative tech companies. Counselors provide support and a planning tool to help evaluate the direction of your technology, chart strategies and more. sbdcmichigan.org 

    Michigan's SBDC publishes a Guide to Starting and Operating a Small Business. Information included in this guide is both general and Michigan-specific: steps for starting a business; forms of business organization; elements of a business plan; federal, state and local tax obligations; management, hiring, marketing and more. This guide is a quick reference designed to assist in the process of starting and operating a business in Michigan.

    Guide to Starting and Operating a Small Business


    Review the SBDC Guide

    Will You Need a Michigan License or Permit?

    To find out if your new venture could require a state license or permit, use the data search feature.

    State Licences and Permits Data

    Search for Michigan Licenses and Permits

  • Obtaining or Renewing Licenses and Permits

    Treasury and Taxes

    http://www.michigan.gov/images/treasury_logo_91885_7.gifServices from the Michigan Department of Treasury can be obtained via their online tool: Michigan Treasury Online (MTO). MTO provides registered businesses with the ability to access, view and make changes to account specific information that Treasury has captured from their application. The MTO self-service tool is intended to improve taxpayers’ convenience and efficiency when notifying Treasury of routine account changes.

    • ph: 517.636.6925

    Michigan Treasury Online

    Begin receiving service from the MTO Business Services website.

    Unemployment Insurance

    UIAThe Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) administers the unemployment insurance program in Michigan and offers two online services for employers. The first, eRegistration, can be utilized to register a business for an unemployment insurance account. The second, Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM), can be utilized to manage an unemployment account electronically and allows employers access to other automated services and functions within UIA. Both services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    • ph: 313.456.2188

    Unemployment Insurance Agency

    The UIA website provides an Employer Handbook explaining unemployment insurance and a MiWAM Toolkit to assist in using MiWAM.

    • Visit the UIA website now.

    Environmental Quality

    DEQThe Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), assures permits are issued promptly. To help achieve this goal, the DEQ's Office of Environmental Assistance offers personal assistance to assure identification of all required permits. Please begin permitting discussions as early as possible.

    • ph: 800.662.9278 / 8-5 M-F

    Department of Environmental Quality

    For assistance identifying relevant environmental permits for a new venture, please review the DEQ permit website.


    http://www.michigan.gov/images/mdot_94791_7.jpgWhether you are considering starting or expanding a business in or through Michigan, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) can help answer your transportation related questions.

    • ph: 844.636.8373

    Michigan Department of Transportation Permits

    For more information on the variety of transportation modes and intermodal resources and services available visit the MDOT permits web page.

    Secretary of State

    http://www.michigan.gov/images/sos_logo_91883_7.gifThe Business Licensing & Regulation Division is responsible for the licensing, training and regulation of motor vehicle dealers, repair facilities, mechanics and salvage vehicle agents in the State of Michigan.

    If you are considering starting your own driver education business in Michigan, the Michigan Department of State can help answer your questions.

    The International Registration Program (IRP) office registers commercial vehicles involved in interstate operations among the United States, the District of Columbia and provinces of Canada. This reciprocity agreement provides for payment to each jurisdiction in proportion to the distance operated there by the carrier. IRP's fundamental principle is to promote and encourage the fullest possible use of the highway system.

    • ph: 888.767.6424

    Secretary of State


    Agriculture and Rural Development

    http://www.michigan.gov/images/mda_logo_87124_7.gifThe Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDARD) administers more than 40 different licenses for a variety of businesses including livestock dealer, grocery store, dairy processing plants, grain dealer, gas station, exterminator, fertilizer manufacturer, nursery stock dealer and aquaculture facilities.

    • ph: 800.292.3939 / 8-5 M-F

    Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development


    Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

    http://www.michigan.gov/images/dleg_logo_91862_7.gifThe Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) supports business growth and job creation while safeguarding Michigan’s citizens through a simple, fair, efficient and transparent regulatory structure. LARA offers a number of online services for creating, maintaining or expanding your business.

    Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs


    Human Services

    http://www.michigan.gov/images/fia_logo_91856_7.gifThe Department of Human Services issues Adult Foster Care, Homes for the Aged, Child Care and Child Welfare licenses to individuals, corporations, limited liability companies and certain government entities for the provision of supervised care or placement services.

    • ph: 866.685.0006

    Michigan Department of Human Services


    Insurance and Financial Services

    http://www.michigan.gov/images/difs/thumbLogo_415266_7.pngThe Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) regulates a variety of individual licensees and business entities, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, HMOs, banks, domestic insurance companies, credit unions, foreign insurance companies, individual insurance agents, insurance agencies, mortgage licensees and registrants, deferred presentment companies and other consumer finance-related entities.

    • ph: 877.999.6442

    Department of Insurance and Financial Services

    For more information on the variety of public services DIFS is responsible for administering, visit the DIFS home page

    Michigan Gaming Control Board

    mgcb All employees of Detroit casinos and employees of their supplier companies may have to obtain an occupational license through the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). For specific qualifications contact MGCB.

    • ph: 313.456.1501 / 9-5 M-F

    Gaming Control Board



    LotteryUnder Public Act 239 of 1972 as amended, retailers must be licensed by the Lottery Bureau to sell lottery tickets. Website has information on applying for application, as well as forms necessary to complete the process. 

    • ph: 517.335.5619



    Natural Resources

    http://www.michigan.gov/images/dnr_94782_7.jpgThe Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides licenses for the retailing, catching, exporting and processing of fisheries and wildlife products.  Available licenses include: Fur Buyers, Processors and Fur Manufacturers; Taxidermy; Minnow, Wiggler and Crayfish Dealers (Resident and Non-Resident); Commercial Minnow Catchers; Bait Export; Wholesale Fish Dealers; Fish Cleaning Stations; Salmon Spawn Processors; and Sport Trolling Licenses (Resident and Non-Resident).

    • ph: 517.284.6057 / 8-5 M-F

    Department of Natural Resources

    The DNR website provides step-by-step instructions on who needs to have a license or permit for which activities, and how to apply for them when applicable.

  • Financial Support and General Business Assistance

  • Michigan Small Business Development Center

    Provides counseling, training, research and advocacy for start-ups, existing small businesses and innovative tech companies. Counselors provide support and a planning tool to help evaluate the direction of your technology, chart strategies and more. http://sbdcMichigan.org

  • Michigan SmartZone Network

    This innovative, statewide program connects universities, research organizations and corporations to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs. 

  • Michigan Manufacturing Technology Centers (MMTC)

    MMTC provides Michigan’s small- and medium-sized manufacturers with operational assessment, process improvement training, mentoring services, website technical assistance and market diversification tactics.

  • Michigan Venture Capital Association

    Seeks to grow and sustain a vibrant venture capital community in Michigan by bringing together industry participants. http://www.michiganvca.org/ 

  • Michigan SBIR/STTR Assistance Program

    Provides intensive training and consulting to support early stage life science and technology companies in pursuit of SBIR/STTR federal R&D funding. http://www.bbcetc.com 

  • Procurement and Technical Assistance Centers

    The Centers help prepare Michigan businesses to compete for government contracts and educate them on the opportunities, requirements and process of becoming successful government contractors. 

  • Competitions

  • Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

    An international business competition designed to bring together later stage entrepreneurial companies with local, national and international investors. http://www.acceleratemichigan.org/ 

  • Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest

    A statewide business plan competition generates new business ideas and fosters emerging companies through coaching, mentoring and investor feedback. The competition awards $1 million in prizes every year.

  • Facilities and Incubators

  • Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center

    A 57,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility located in Plymouth Township. Partners include the MEDC, Wayne County, Ann Arbor SPARK, the New Economy Initiative and Plymouth Township. http://www.mlsic.com/

  • East Lansing Technology Innovation Center (TIC)

    TIC is a business accelerator for technology startups in the Greater Lansing region. Co-located with MSU Technologies and MSU Business CONNECT. TIC also offers a Virtual Tenant Program, which was launched in 2010. http://www.purelansing.com/tic  

  • GR Current Incubator

    The GR Current Incubator offers 16,000+ square-feet of state-of-the-art wet lab space and is occupied by companies in drug, diagnostic and medical device development. http://www.grcurrent.com/

  • MTEC SmartZone Incubation Space

    The MTEC SmartZone includes a business incubator with a mission to accelerate high-tech business growth. The MTEC SmartZone serves a variety of companies from start-ups to massive fortune 500 companies through its programs. The incubation space encompasses four customized working spaces for high-tech business growth in Houghton and Hancock. Locations include; The Lakeshore Center, Powerhouse, Jutila Center, and the Advanced Technology Development Complex (ATDC). http://www.mtecsz.com/?q=node/115 

  • TechTown Detroit

    Offering small offices, office suites, labs and co-working space with continued strong support from founding partners and contributors including Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health System and General Motors Company. http://techtowndetroit.org



  • Southwest Michigan Innovation Center

    A wet lab located near Western Michigan University, devoted to emerging life science companies. http://www.kazoosmic.com/ 

  • Central Michigan University Research Corp. Incubator

    A 17,500-square-foot wet lab, devoted to biotech and nanotech research is located in Mt. Pleasant. http://www.cmurc.com/business-development/wet-lab  

  • Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC)

    MAREC is an economic development initiative of the City of Muskegon, MEDC and Grand Valley State University,  focusing on the advancement and development of alternative and renewable energy technology.

  • SPARK Regional Incubator Network

    The SPARK Regional Incubator Network (SRIN) is comprised of two business incubators for start-up companies: the SPARK Central Business Incubator located in Ann Arbor and SPARK East Business Incubator located in Ypsilanti.

  • NextEnergy

    One of the nation’s leading research catalysts and business accelerators for alternative and renewable energy. Located in Detroit, NextEnergy is within an hour of more than a dozen major research universities.

  • Technology Assistance

  • Michigan Corporate Relations Network (M-CRN)

    The first statewide university network in the country is designed to connect Michigan companies with university assets to promote innovations and grow Michigan's economy.  http://michigancrn.org 

    • Includes U of M, MTU, URC, UM-Dearborn, MSU, WSU, WMU.
    • Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP) will help companies partner with universities for applied research and development of identified technologies. The SCIP will provide Michigan small businesses access to matching funding to engage the M-CRN partner universities on company-specific research projects.
    • Small Company Internship Award program (SCIA) provides funding and encourages student job placements with innovative and dynamic company partners within Michigan.
    • The Instant Innovation Program brings faculty experts from the universities together with Michigan companies to tackle significant business and research challenges.
    University Experts Portal

    Part of the M-CRN network, the Expertise and Resource Portal is an easy-to-use, searchable website featuring available university researchers and related resources at facilities such as university research centers to serve businesses both within Michigan and globally. For more information, please check out the Portal at: http://michigancrn.org/business-portal.php.

  • Michigan Technical Education Centers

    Eighteen state-of-the-art centers are associated with Michigan’s community college system. They provide educational, training and workforce development infrastructure for Michigan’s businesses.

  • Michigan Manufacturing Technology Centers (MMTC)

    MMTC provides Michigan’s small- and medium-sized manufacturers with operational assessment, process improvement training, mentoring services, website technical assistance and market diversification tactics.

  • Tech Talent Transfer Network

    This $2.4 million initiative matches entrepreneurs with university innovators to commercialize university technology.

  • University Research Corridor (URC)

    The URC is formed by University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University, generating $15.5 billion in economic impact statewide and exceeding $2 billion in annual research expenditures. These three universities bring in more than $1.5 billion in federal research dollars each year.

  • Michigan SmartZone Network

    This innovative, statewide program connects universities, research organizations and corporations to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs. 

  • Research Excellence

    Michigan provides a wealth of support through its world-class research university system. The state’s network of 15 public universities, more than 50 independent universities and colleges and 28 community colleges produces a rich talent pool and deep well of research know-how. This growing supply of highly skilled workers and research support attracts diverse industries like alternative energy, automotive R&D, life sciences and homeland security and defense.