Starting & Operating a Business in Kentwood

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Congratulations! Owning your own business is an exciting adventure, and we are thrilled that you are considering Kentwood as a potential home for your workplace. Whether you're just getting started or a looking to relocate or expand in Kentwood, this section is dedicated to helping you find answers. 

The following are intended to give you an overview of starting a business in Kentwood and may not include everything you need to start a business. You are required to meet all federal, state and local requirements for your business. 

Location & Zoning
Licenses, Permits & Code Compliance
Taxes & Fees
Financial Assistance

We welcome you to view our Economic Development Corporation brochure to learn more about what the City of Kentwood has to offer. Please contact Lisa Golder at with any questions about operating a business in Kentwood. 


Your business is subject to zoning requirements. Zoning varies based on type of business and your location. Please contact our Planning Department to learn more. 

Licenses, Permits & Code Compliance

If you haven't already, you are required to obtain a business license from the City of Kentwood.  You can learn more at the Kentwood City Clerk page. 

Registration with Kent County 
You are also required to register your business with the Kent County Clerk. You can search to see if the business name you want to use is available, as well as find the forms you need on the  Kent County Clerk website. If you can't find what you're looking for, please call 616.632.7640.
All food service establishments and temporary food vendors need a license from the  Kent County Health Department. Please visit the website or call 616.632.7100.

State of Michigan 
You are also be required to register your business with the State of Michigan. The State has a helpful  state license search to guide you. 

Home-Based Businesses 
If you run a business from your home, you need a home-based business license. This license is a one-time application valid as long as you're operating a business out of your home.  To learn more about operating and applying for this license:

Home-Based Business License Procedures  
Home-Based Business Application 

Chemical Survey
As a business owner, you are required to complete the City of Kentwood Chemical Survey. Click here to learn more, and take the survey online.  
Building Permits
If you intend to build or modify a structure, you may need a building permit. You can find out more about Kentwood's Building Permits and regulations by visiting the Kentwood Inspection Office page. 

Taxes & Fees 

As a business, you will be required to pay personal property taxes to the City of Kentwood. If you have questions about your taxes, you can contact the Kentwood Treasurer

The personal property of all entities in the State of Michigan is taxable unless specifically exempted by Michigan general property tax laws. Taxable personal property is generally the furniture, fixtures, equipment, machinery, leasehold improvements, office machines, computers and tools of business. There are some exceptions for churches, farms and other organizations.

All taxable property must be reported annually to the local assessor on or before Feb. 20. The Michigan State Tax Commission has an approved form which must be used in reporting personal property. 
Tax day is Dec. 31 each year. The personal property statement requires all property be reported based on its location on Dec. 31.

All businesses with property in the City of Kentwood must comply with state laws. The Assessor's Office attempts to mail forms to all entities believed to have taxable property within the City on tax day. These forms are mailed the first week of January each year. 

All forms must be returned by Feb. 20, although it is recommended that they be completed and filed by the end of January. This allows for both the assessing staff and the taxpayer to review any questions and agree on an appropriate assessment before the  Board of Review meets in March.

Please visit the Kentwood Assessor's office for more details about owning a property in the City. 

Sales Tax & State Tax
If your business sells tangible goods, you will need a sales tax license from the State of Michigan.  

There may be some financial assistance and incentives for your business. The City of Kentwood offers certain programs and incentives. You can contact the Economic Development Office for more information. 


The Family Business Alliance is a local nonprofit created to help family businesses succeed. Working in a family business has its owned unique set of challenges. The FBA has resources and networking opportunities to help connect you to the right people to make sure your family business thrives. 

Grand Rapids Black Businesses is an organization that provides entrepreneurs with growing and sustaining businesses though access to social, intellectual and financial capital. 

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. This nonprofit organization is committed to the success and growth of small businesses by providing cost-effective training, one-on-one counseling and market research. 

Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) is focused on serving women at every step of business ownership. GROW provides counseling and mentorships, as well as microloans for qualified individuals. 

This online resource, provided by Kent District Library, has helpful resources to support you in learning what you need to know about starting a business. You must have a KDL library card to access the information. Don't have a library card? Click here to get one.

SCORE is a group of active and retired business owners and executives working to improve the success of local businesses in West Michigan. With real world business experience, volunteers partner with up-and-coming business owners and leaders for mentoring, planning and workshops.   

SpringGR offers business training experience for people with an idea to start and succeed in their own business, including developing a business idea, identifying customers, pricing and business finance and branding/marketing. 

Sprout Lab partners with business incubators, colleges/universities, and others to bring entrepreneurial education across the state. Entrepreneurs are guided to competitions and sources of capital to bring ideas to the next level. 

Start Garden has always embodied the principal that to learn anything, you have to do something. They continue to try new things, learn from them and adapt the organization. The goal always is to establish a culture of entrepreneurship and invest whatever they can into that culture.

Michigan Women's Foundation provides financial resources, professional expertise and networking on behalf of women and girls in West Michigan.

For a list of more business resources and incentives, click here.

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