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April 12, 2023 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm


Access to Capital for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs

Funding opportunities for new businesses, featuring local and state resources.

One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is how to access capital to launch their new businesses. How do you know what funding option is right for you? The landscape can be daunting.

Join us for this panel discussion about funding options specifically for early-stage entrepreneurs including loan and grant opportunities for new businesses. You’ll learn specifically about Traverse City and Michigan-based programs, as well as how to navigate the process, documentation and collateral needs, application processes, and cautions to consider. We’ll also discuss how these programs work together with entrepreneurs to support the sustainability of new businesses.


  • Laura Galbraith, President of Venture North
  • Fred Molnar, Senior VP of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Sid Van Slyke, Senior Vice President, Market Leader, and Managing Director of Wealth Management at West Shore Bank

The panel will be moderated by David Nows, Assistant Professor and Chair of Entrepreneurship at Central Michigan University.

This event is hosted by 20Fathoms in partnership with West Shore Bank.

Event format:

This is an in-person event and lunch will be provided. There is no charge to attend.

Space is limited. Please register.

Parking information:

Parking is available in the street-level parking garage on 8th Street.

Who should attend:

This event is open to the public and suitable for early- and middle-stage business owners, as well as anyone interested in learning about local and regional funding opportunities for new ventures.

Key take-aways:

  • Learn what funding options are available for your early stage and startup business
  • Understand the criteria different lenders evaluate for consideration and approvals
  • How to build a capital stack combining different funding options

About the speaker:

Laura Galbraith is the President of Venture North. Through her leadership, Venture North has grown its capital fund to more than $7 million and received its Community Development Financial Institution CDFI certification in 2017. Laura leads a team of economic development professionals that support the region’s economic growth and community development efforts by providing funding options, free business consulting, and building connections for viable businesses within a 10-county rural area. The Venture North team also consults on the various incentive and grant programs administered by federal and state partners. Laura has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s in business administration from Lawrence Technological University.

Fred Molnar is the Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In this role, he is responsible for leading the MEDC’s initiative to establish Michigan as the place to grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies with access to a variety of resources and support. Fred came to the MEDC with 30 years of experience working in the private sector with life science companies, and his deep industry knowledge and entrepreneurial experience helps the MEDC continue providing a dynamic environment for Michigan startups. Fred has an associate degree in electronics from Henry Ford Community College, a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wayne State University and a Master of Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University.

David Nows is an Assistant Professor and the Chair of Entrepreneurship at Central Michigan University. David’s main research interest is the financing of entrepreneurial ventures, and he has published articles in top-rated law and business journals. In the classroom, David teaches undergraduate and masters level courses in law, entrepreneurship, and venture development. In addition to David’s teaching duties, David takes an active role in CMU’s New Venture Challenge (NVC), helping to mentor student venture teams. Prior to joining CMU, David was a business law attorney at Foster Swift. David is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and the University of Michigan.

Sid Van Slyke is Senior Vice President, Market Leader, and Managing Director Wealth Management for West Shore Bank. He has worked in the finance industry for more than 20 years with a focus in Private Bank and Investment Services as well as Commercial Lending. He studied Marketing and Sociology at Saginaw Valley State University and carries the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor designation (AWMA) from The College for Financial Planning. In his position Sid is responsible for all aspects of bank business in the Grand Traverse region with responsibilities in Wealth Management spanning the banks footprint.

About 20Fathoms

20Fathoms is the home of technology and entrepreneurship in Northern Michigan. We catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship through startup incubation services, business workshops, community partnership, and a vibrant coworking space. We also remove barriers and accelerate career growth through tech career training, talent acquisition, and the advancement of regional strategic initiatives.


April 12, 2023
11:30 am - 1:00 pm


West Shore Bank (3rd Floor)
400 East Eighth Street
Traverse City, MI 49686 United States