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Automotive industry supplier, Huron, Inc., is one of the first companies to receive funding from SBA's licensed Impact Investment Fund, the InvestMichigan! Growth Capital Fund. Founded in 1943, and located in Lexington, Michigan, the company is a leader in the production of value-added tube assemblies and precision machined components.
CEO Robert Bales notes that the company's product strategy and engineering expertise are key reasons that Huron’s first SBA-backed funding from SunTx Capital Partners in 2005 was so successful. SunTx helped support Huron in its efforts to develop the company’s market position as a full-service supplier to the automotive original equipment manufacturers.
Today, Huron's two largest customers are Ford Motor Company and Toyota. "Our business with Ford has grown significantly, and our business with Toyota has grown equally as well," says Bales. The second SBA-backed funding from the InvestMichigan! Fund will be used to recapitalize the company and position it for further growth.
The Impact Investment Initiative is part of Startup America. It uses the infrastructure of the SBA's Small Business Investment Company Program (SBIC), an established and successful program that operates at no cost to taxpayers. The Impact Investment Initiative combines public and private funding for high growth companies that will generate not only a financial but also a "social" return by focusing on businesses located in underserved communities or communities facing barriers to capital.
Huron has survived the automotive downturn and is winning new business in a highly competitive marketplace. Bales attributes this success to his employees. "I'm very proud of how we got through the recent downturn," said Bales. "With help from the UAW and strong leadership here, we worked through the most difficult production environment that I've seen in 40 years."
Credit Suisse, co-manager of the InvestMichigan! Fund, notes it is proud to be able to support the growth of long-term Michigan success stories like Huron. "The business has been skillfully able to navigate the automotive downturn with minimal impact on its employee base and continues to be a preferred and value-added supplier to its world class customer base," says Sean O'Donnell, Vice President at Credit Suisse.
Huron is currently working on products to improve fuel efficiency with both Ford and Toyota. These include parts for Ford's new EcoBoost engine and upcoming Nano engine. "Manufacturing companies in the United States can be competitive in the global marketplace, and this is a great time to focus on creating value for customer and growing a business," said Bales.