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DBusiness Daily Update: Sunset at the Zoo to Return Aug. 27, LaunchDETROIT Accepting Applications from Entrepreneurs, and More

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The Detroit Zoological Society will be hosting its Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser on Aug. 27. // Courtesy of The Detroit Zoo
The Detroit Zoological Society will be hosting its Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser on Aug. 27. // Courtesy of The Detroit Zoo

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Sunset at the Zoo to Return Aug. 27

The Detroit Zoological Society is bringing back its annual fundraising gala, Sunset at the Zoo: The Future is Bright on Friday, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. on Aug. 27.

This year’s Sunset, for adults 21-and-older, is presented by Strategic Staffing Solutions and will support the Detroit Zoological Society’s commitment to the future, including high-impact programs that advance wildlife conservation, environmental sustainability, and humane education. Guests also will learn more about the Zoo’s newest residents and exciting plans for the future.

Guest you can expect food and drinks, live entertainment, access to the Detroit Zoo’s animal habitats, and live and silent auctions with one-of-a-kind “zoonique” prizes.

For tickets, visit here.

LaunchDETROIT Accepting Online Applications from Metro Area Entrepreneurs

LaunchDETROIT currently is accepting online applications from local entrepreneurs interested in receiving education, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Spearheaded by Rotary International volunteers from Rotary District 6400, this multi-faceted program has assisted nearly 80 entrepreneurs since it began in 2012.

“Just as businesses and organizations have had to pivot since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve done the same,” says Margaret Williamson, chair of LaunchDETROIT. “While meeting virtually and providing online education opportunities, we continued this program in 2020 with the selection of 12 entrepreneurs.”

Williamson shares how several alumni of the program, including Willie Brake of All About Technology, Dazmonique Carr of Deeply Rooted Produce, and Latricia Wright of Olive Seed LLC, were able to expand their businesses despite the pandemic and shared their experiences with the current class of LaunchDETROIT entrepreneurs.

Online applications are available here for the entrepreneur class of 2021, scheduled to begin in October. The deadline to apply for this year’s program is Aug. 20.

According to Williamson, the LaunchDETROIT committee thoroughly reviews the applications to invite a select number of applicants to be interviewed about their business goals and interests in participating.

In addition to business training, mentorship and networking, qualifying participants are eligible to apply for a micro-loan of up to $2,500.

“As our program has evolved, recent participants have expressed their greatest interest in mentorship and networking,” adds Williamson. “Participants also receive access to the wealth of information and variety of expertise from our Rotary volunteers.”

State Rolls Back Mandatory COVID Testing for Farm and Food Processing Employees

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has rescinded its order requiring COVID-19 testing for agricultural employees. This change is being made in light of increasing vaccination rates, declining COVID-19 cases, expanded access to testing and vaccinations, and enhanced housing and worker protections currently in effect to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“With COVID-19 transmission numbers low and increasing vaccination rates, we are removing the requirement for testing for these workers,” says Elizabeth Hertel, director of MDHHS. “The most important tool we have is the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and we encourage everyone to join the nearly 62 percent of Michiganders who have already been vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Other protections for agricultural workers remain in effect. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Feb. 25 emergency rules continues to require that agricultural laborer housing camps establish COVID-19 preparedness and response plans, and provide quarantine housing for workers who were exposed to COVID-19, among other protections.

“I am thankful for the steps taken by our food and agriculture community to safeguard the health of this vital workforce throughout the course of the pandemic,” says Gary McDowell, director of MDARD. “Keeping the established response plan requirements for this growing season provides our growers and processors guidance should a positive employee be identified.”

The latest information about COVID-19 from the state is available here and from the CDC here.

Detroit Credit Expert Releases First Black-owned Credit Management Planner

Detroit native Tierra Jae, founder of New Beginnings Community Consulting & Restoration, has launched The Credit Calendar, one of the first Black-owned credit management planners, which now is available for purchase.

This tool, which Jae says is easy to use, is the first of its kind, helps users focus on improving and maintaining their credit status and achieving any future goals. In addition to keeping track of various credit lines, the planner is a tool to help users execute necessary steps to stay on track and remember critical dates needed to improve credit.

As an experienced credit repair specialist and tax expert, Jae set a goal to help her current clients and others independently restore and manage their credit scores. According to Debt.org more than 191 million Americans have credit cards, and the average household debt is more than $5,000.

Since launching NBCCR, Jae has serviced more than 300 clients nationwide.

MSU Health Care Announces Affiliation with Everside Health in Colorado

MSU Health Care in East Lansing and Everside Health of Denver have partnered to provide employers throughout Michigan with what they are calling “a better, more innovative health care solution.”

The collaboration is in response to growing employer concerns regarding ongoing increases in health care costs and barriers to quality health care for their employees.

“Until now, employers in Michigan had few choices when it came to health care delivery options,” says Chris Miller, CEO of Everside. “They had to rely on solutions created by large insurance companies or health systems. But our new partnership with MSU Health Care is designed to change the status quo in employers’ favor by bringing together our proven direct primary care model and advanced technology with MSU’s strong innovation and research capabilities. The result is expected to be measurable cost savings with improved access to quality care.”

Everside has a history of successfully collaborating with various health care organizations to deliver accessible, high-quality care while lowering costs for employers and patients. This collaboration with MSU Health Care, however, marks the first time the organization has partnered with a medical school.

Everside’s direct primary care model is positioned as an alternative to America’s current fee-for-service health care delivery model. Under the Everside model, employers or other plan sponsors pay a fixed cost per employee for nearly 24/7 unlimited access to primary care providers. It is not a replacement for an employer-sponsored insurance plan, but rather a complementary service focusing on keeping employees well.

Patients receive convenient, low- or no-cost access to physicians and 24/7 virtual care, reducing the need for costly ER use. On average, employers on the Everside program save 20 percent on claims costs by year four, largely as a result of Everside’s ability to treat health issues early on before they become catastrophic or require a more expensive urgent care or emergency department visit. The model also is poised to benefit individuals through the Everside model of care.

“The collaboration with Everside is another example of working with like-minded organizations to fulfill our mission to improve the health of all communities in Michigan,” says Seth Ciabotti, CEO of MSU Health Care. “The pandemic highlighted the need for every individual to have a medical home supported by a robust relationship with a primary care team for maintaining health. Telehealth visits proved to be a viable delivery mechanism for increasing access to health care in rural and underserved areas in Michigan.”

Based on initial feedback to the new offering, Rosin confirmed that the two organizations are exploring real estate options in the Lansing and Grand Rapids areas for their inaugural employer-based health center.

Interested employers and sponsors of this program available through MSU Health Care and Everside can call 844-205-6403.

Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency is Hiring

The Detroit-based Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency is hiring for more than 50 full- and part-time positions including administration and education.

Wayne Metro employees use their individual strengths to help solve some of Wayne County’s toughest challenges and empower the community through collective impact.

Employees can make a lasting impact in the fight against poverty and deliver tangible results that empower people and strengthen Wayne County communities. Employees teach independence and provide hope to the most vulnerable part of the population.

Benefits include health care, education funding, professional development, and a 401(K) plan with employer match and financial planning services.

For more information on available jobs and to submit an application, visit here.



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Dave says: If you need a cosigner, you're not ready – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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Dave says: If you need a cosigner, you’re not ready  Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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How to improve your credit score in 2021: Easy and effective tips

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If you’ve ever wondered “What is my credit score?” it’s probably time to find out. Having a good credit score can make life a lot more affordable. If you’re about to buy a house or car, for example, the higher your credit score is, the lower your interest rate (and therefore, monthly cost) will probably be.

Your number may also be the deciding factor for whether or not you can get a loan and ultimately determine if you are even able to buy something you want or need.

So, yes, the goal is to have the highest possible credit score you can, but increasing the number doesn’t just happen overnight. There are important steps to take if you want to increase your score, and the sooner you start working on it, the better.

“If you’re trying to increase (your credit score) substantially to accomplish a goal, you’re really going to have to have as much lead time as possible,” said Thomas Nitzsche, director of media and brand at Money Management International, a nonprofit financial counseling and education provider that advises people on how to legally and ethically improve their credit score on their own.

If you have fair credit and you’re trying to improve the number for a house purchase, for instance, you’ll want to start working on it at least a year in advance, he explained to TMRW.

But even though that sounds like a long time away, you can (and should!) start doing things right now to bump that number up. Below, see seven things you should do — and not do — to help improve your credit score:

1. Review your credit report

Review your credit report and look for errors that might be hurting your score. Morsa Images / Getty Images

The first thing you’ll want to do is pull up a copy of your current report so you know where you stand. You can get free reports from all three agencies — TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax — at annualcreditreport.com. Nitzsche said it’s important to take a moment and understand the financial snapshot of where you are today and where you want to be.

You’ll also want to take some time and look for any errors on your report, which could negatively impact your score. “If your name is misspelled, that’s not going to hurt your score,” he explained. “But if you see a late payment or missed payment (that’s in error), or maybe you have an account that should be reporting but isn’t, then that’s a problem and that will impact your score.”

If there is an error, you should dispute it and try to provide as much proof as you can.

One other thing: You can also ask a creditor to remove an issue if it’s been corrected (i.e., if you paid off a collection debt). Nitzsche said it doesn’t hurt to ask and the worst thing they could say is no.

2. Have good financial habits

“The biggest part of your credit score is payment history, so the most critical thing is never missing a due date,” Nitzsche said. Set up a monthly autopay or add all due dates to your calendar so you never miss a bill.

You can also achieve a higher score when you mix different types of accounts on your credit report. It may seem counterintuitive to get extra points for having debt in the form of student loans, mortgages and auto loans, but as long as you’re paying them off responsibly, it shows that you’re reliable.

3. Aim to use 30% or less of your credit at any given time

Know your credit limit and aim to only use 30% or less of it for a better credit score.Tim Robberts / Getty Images

Know your credit card limit, and try not to use any more than 30% of that number each month, otherwise your score could lose points for too much credit utilization.

Another thing you can do is ask your bank to increase your limit. “That will give you more flexibility to spend more,” Nitzsche said. You could also pay it off twice a month to keep the balance low. But he does warn that you never know when the balance is going to be reported to the bureau. It can happen at any point during the month, so it might be the day after you make the payment or the day before. “You don’t necessarily want to use the card and pay it the next day because that doesn’t give the bureau the chance to know that you’re using it,” he said.

4. Avoid requests for new credit

If you’re looking to increase your score around the time you want to buy a house or car, you won’t want to open up a new line of credit, like a retail card, credit card or loan. That’s because “hard” credit inquiries like those can lower your score, and sometimes it comes down to a few points over whether you’re approved or what your rate will be, Nitzsche said.

“Soft” credit inquiries, like when an employer checks your credit or when you pull your own report, won’t affect your score.

5. Keep all accounts open, even ones you don’t use anymore

Even if you don’t use that credit card from college, it’s a good idea to just keep it open because closing it could hurt your score. Nitzsche explained that you’ll be dinged some points for each account that is closed. If you want or need to mentally break up with a card, just cut it up instead.

6. Build your credit if needed

If you haven’t established credit yet, you might not even exist … in the credit report space, that is! “If someone has never fallen in delinquency on any subscriptions or utilities or never had collections on anything and they have not utilized credit cards or loans in the past seven to 10 years, they may not have a credit profile at all,” Nitzsche said. “That presents a challenge when you want to buy a home.”

If this sounds familiar, you may have to get a secured credit card where you put down a deposit, he advised. “You still have to make payments and use it responsibly. Not all banks offer them but you can usually check with your local bank or credit union.”

7. Reach out for help

If you want personal guidance on boosting your credit score, make an appointment with a credit counselor.kate_sept2004 / Getty Images

There are many apps and credit-monitoring services that can help you stay on top of your credit score. You could also reach out to a professional credit counselor who can help you navigate your specific situation. (Here’s a good resource about finding a reputable service.)

One last thing: Nitzsche warned that everyone should beware of credit repair scams that claim to be able to increase credit scores for an advance fee to get accurate negative information removed (even temporarily) from credit reports.

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Lifestyle News | ⚡How J&G Credit Recreations Assists Individuals to Gain Financial Stability Through Credit and Homeownership – LatestLY

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