Local Leaders Sharing Resource Information in Berrien Call to Action

While many in the healthcare and medical communities are the front lines dealing every day with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there is another major group of collaborators who have steeled themselves since day one and have been working around the clock to help the business community in Michigan’s Great Southwest to find the answers they need in order to survive every single day. Now, they are helping Berrien County to answer an important call to action for products necessary to fight the outbreak.

Today, the leaders of those business and not-for-profit community and economic development organizations have announced, in response to questions from area businesses and manufacturers, the tools necessary to sign up for and assist with the product needs related to the COVID19 virus outbreak in our state and nation.

Cornerstone Alliance, The Kinexus Group, The Strategic Leadership Council, Berrien County Community Development and The Southwest Michigan Chamber are all asking any Berrien County businesses wishing to assist in the response to sign up through the Michigan Business Connect web portal.

The intent of the portal is to match suppliers and manufacturers with those in need of expected high-demand items such as personal protection equipment, face shields, masks, replacement parts for medical equipment and other items deemed necessary by those on the front lines of the fight against the virus.

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Kinexus Group President & CEO Todd Gustafson reminds everyone, “Berrien County is well-positioned, with over 280 manufacturing businesses right here in our backyard, to re-tool and assist those in need throughout the state.” He adds, “The Michigan Business Connect portal will be the first step in preparing to supply our hospitals, human service agencies and health care systems with the equipment they need.”

Rob Cleveland, President and CEO of Cornerstone Alliance says, “The generosity and willingness of our Berrien County businesses to engage, retool and assist in helping those in need during this crisis is not surprising. Another reason that Berrien County is such a great place to work, play, raise and family and grow a business.”

John Proos, Executive Director of the Strategic Leadership Council, a Berrien County not for profit community development organization, explained the purpose of the web site and encouraged all interested parties to participate in the MI Business Connect portal, saying, “This website will help to bring together those that have Procurement and Donation Needs with those that have the capabilities to fulfill those needs either through their supply chains or other donation capabilities during this crisis.”

Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber President & CEO Arthur Havlicek says, “We’ve seen the community rally behind Buy Local Berrien! to support area businesses. Now, it’s our businesses who must answer the call,” and concluding, “We strongly encourage those able to utilize this portal and help produce the critical equipment needed for us to win this fight.”

Pure Michigan Business Connect is operated by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation which in collaboration with more than 100 economic development partners and markets Michigan as the place to do business, assists businesses in their growth strategies and fosters the growth of vibrant communities across the state.

Those interested in sharing their needs or signing up to support should visit the link below:


Examples of both supply and demand needs can be found at that site or by contacting:

Bobby Chasnis, Director, Pure Michigan Business Connect, Michigan Economic Development Corporation at 517-599-4074 or by e-mail at chasnisr@michigan.org.