Economic Development

The City of Battle Creek is committed to fostering economic vitality through business recruitment and retention, to attract new investment to the community. The city, working with numerous partners -- like Battle Creek Unlimited -- works hard to help entrepreneurs and startup companies plan, implement, and sustain their new businesses, and assist existing business owners with their growth and development.

Battle Creek Unlimited provides economic development services to large businesses and the city's Fort Custer Industrial Park. The city's Economic Development Fund (EDF) team, under the direction of the city manager's office, services small businesses, and commercial and retail development. The EDF team will help guide your business through the regulatory process, providing assistance with planning and zoning, code and inspections, access to incentives, and more.

Downtown Battle Creek

Battle Creek features an active and lively downtown, including unique residential, commercial, and retail spaces; the downtown farmers market; green space; public Wi-Fi; a 17-mile Linear Park path; public art; libraries; symphony performances; quaint restaurants; and coffee shops.

Activities abound, like the annual Cereal Festival, Spring and Fall Into the Arts art walks, International Summerfest, International Festival of Lights, and and Movies in the Park; and free outdoor concerns like the Post Band, Festival Market Music, and Vibe@5 concert series, to name a few.

Since 2008, more than $39 million in public and philanthropic investments have leveraged $88 million in private investment in the downtown, with the addition of more than 1,100 jobs. The city's EDF team is ready to assist with any and all development projects in the downtown.

For more on the city's downtown development efforts, visit downtownbattlecreek.com/live-it-up.

Festival Market Square

Festival Market Square in downtown Battle Creek

Small Business & Startup Development

The City of Battle Creek works in partnership with the Cereal City Development Corp. (CCDC) to deliver economic development services to small business throughout the community. CCDC is a supporting organization to the city, and employs economic development professionals, who work directly with city staff to attract investment and facilitate small business growth and development.

The city's small business development efforts are led by Development Director John Hart. John works closely with Business Development and Retention Manager Valerie Byrnes, and city staff in Planning and Zoning, Inspections, and Community Development to provide comprehensive economic development services to small businesses, with a particular emphasis on women and minority-owned businesses.

Together, this group makes up the city's EDF team, with services including:

Business Attraction & Retention

  • Recruitment -- attract new investment to the community
  • Retention calls
  • Data collection and management
  • Research -- best practices
  • Business incentives
  • Access to capital

Marketing & Communications

  • Downtown website
  • Social media marketing
  • Commercial/retail sales kit
  • Development Request for Proposals

Access to Recreation, Cultural, & Leisure Opportunities

  • Event programming
  • Event staffing and support

Administration

  • Business Improvement Districts
    • Columbia Avenue BID
    • Dickman Road BID
  • TIF Districts
    • DDA, LDDA
  • Property management -- DDA and City of Battle Creek
  • Loan administration
    • Micro-lending and business incentive portfolio
  • Grant administration

Community Development

  • Affordable housing
  • CDBG administration
    • Community Development planning
    • Placemaking support
  1. Valerie Byrnes

    Business Retention and Development Manager
    Phone: 269-966-3355 ext. 1193
    Cereal City Development Corp.
    City of Battle Creek -- Small Business Economic Development Fund

    m: 616-638-5521

  2. John Hart

    Development Director
    Phone: 269-966-3355 ext. 1191
    Cereal City Development Corp.
    City of Battle Creek -- Small Business Economic Development Fund

    m: 269-924-9681

​BC Vision

The city's economic development strategy is tied directly to the city's community-wide economic development plan -- BC Vision. BC Vision envisions Battle Creek as a thriving community where people can live, work and play, where there is equitable opportunity for all residents to have the income, education and resources they need to be successful. The plan is built on a foundation of jobs, talent and a culture of vitality or civic pride, unity and trust developed by a strong sense of "place" in the community.

These three interconnected pillars are supported by five strategic priorities:
  • Increase the number of permanent jobs in the community
  • Increase the number of Battle Creek residents connected to jobs
  • Increase college and career readiness
  • Increase kindergarten readiness
  • Increase the civic pride among residents in the community

More Information

Battle Creek Unlimited

Since as early as 1972 the city has had an ongoing partnership and contractual relationship with Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) and BC/CAL/KAL Inland Port Development Corp. for marketing and management services, including all commercial and industrial economic marketing, promotion and development in the city's Fort Custer Industrial Park and W.K. Kellogg Airport.

Fort Custer Industrial Park is one of the premier international business parks in the country and is home to more than 80 companies, including 25 internationally-based companies, employing more than 13,000 people.

Adjacent to the industrial park, W.K. Kellogg Airport has a 10,003-foot runway that can accommodate any variety of aircraft built today. Duncan Aviation, WACO Aircraft Corp., and the Western Michigan University College of Aviation are located at the airport.

BCU is committed to building a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation. For more on Battle Creek Unlimited, click this link for the BCU website.

More Information