GREENVILLE, S.C.—Michelin North America Inc.'s Michelin Development subsidiary, which provides business loans to upstart businesses in the U.S. and Canada, has made its 100th loan since starting in 2006.
The company said it recently approved another loan to a small but growing South Carolina transportation company “that now needs one more driver and truck to keep ahead of demand.”
DW&K Services, a transportation company receiving the latest funding, is one of the first benefactors of the Michelin Development Upstate program. The company first became a client in 2010 and, according to Michelin, plans to use the new loan to purchase a new truck and add a driver.
“The money that Michelin first loaned us in 2010 helped us grow our trucking routes from Columbia to the upstate,” DW&K founder and CEO DeWayne White said in a statement. “We just needed someone to give us a chance; we knew we had a good plan but just needed someone to believe in us. Thankfully Michelin did.”
Michelin launched the Michelin Development program in North America in 2006. With the latest loan, the company said it is celebrating 100 loans awarded to small businesses and startups and the creation of nearly 1,500 jobs in the U.S. and Canada—bringing its total funding contribution thus far to nearly $9 million.
The Greenville-based tire maker said its subsidiary “contributes to the economic regeneration and growth” of the communities where Michelin has facilities by providing low-interest loans to small businesses or start-ups. In addition to financial support, the program also provides business expertise from Michelin's network of professionals. The program originally began in France and was introduced to North America in 2006.
Michelin Development first began in Ontario, Canada, in 2006—in the wake of its tire plant closure in Kitchener, Ontario—“as a way to provide abiding support and involvement in the region” after the company announced it would no longer produce tires in the Waterloo area. The initial program was there active for three years, during which time more than $3 million was granted for 20 loans that Michelin claimed led to the creation of more than 530 jobs.
“Michelin has a long-standing commitment to improve the communities where we make tires and where our employees live,” John Tully, president of Michelin Development, said in a statement. “This program allows us to champion the entrepreneurs and innovators in these communities as they build their businesses and create jobs.”
In 2009, during the recession, Michelin launched the Michelin Development Upstate program to provide support to the South Carolina area that is home to the company's North American headquarters and several manufacturing facilities. In six years, according to the company, the program has awarded 51 loans that have created approximately 500 jobs. The Upstate program focuses on socially or economically disadvantaged businesses in the 10-county region.
The company also launched the Michelin Development East Alabama program in 2009 after a decision was made to reduce production at a tire facility there. Eventually, Michelin closed its BFGoodrich plant in Opelika, Ala. In two years, Michelin said it loaned nearly $2 million to 15 small businesses that ultimately generated 450 new jobs in that area.
Most recently in 2014, Michelin launched the Nova Scotia program to support the area in Pictou County to correspond to the reduction of tire production at a facility there. In one year, Michelin said it has loaned nearly $1 million to 15 small businesses.
“The program is growing rapidly, with new loans getting approval weekly,” Michelin said in a news release. “These businesses are well underway to creating new job opportunities for residents in that region.”
For more information about Michelin Development, visit its website. Michelin said it employs more than 22,750 and operates 20 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.