Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, with Michigan Women Forward (MWF), the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Huntington Bank and the Ballmer Group, has announced the launch of the new $10 million Michigan Economic Opportunity Fund, a microbusiness loan program for women and entrepreneurs of color in Michigan. Entrepreneurs will be able to apply for up to $50,000 in loans through this program. With the average loan managed by MWF being $25,000, the fund will be able to assist about 400 entrepreneurs.

The fund will provide opportunities for those who don’t qualify for traditional loans through banks or other financial institutions, as well as boost the economy throughout Michigan, including cities with low-income populations — including, but not limited, to Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Midland, Pontiac, Saginaw and Ypsilanti. Last year, the nonprofit organization provided 88 loans for almost $2.5 million invested in primarily women-owned businesses.

Questions about the program can be emailed to or by calling (313) 962-1920.