$100-M In Grants Coming for MI Small Biz Restart Program for COVID Recovery

If your small business has been seriously impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and you have not already received a grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Michigan Small Business Relief Program, a new wave of grants is hitting the marketplace today, including more than $7.5-million targeted for Michigan’s Great Southwest. As you will see below, 42 businesses in the Tri-County region of Berrien, Cass and Van Buren successfully applied for grants of up to $7,500 each in an earlier round through Southwest Michigan First in Kalamazoo.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced announced this morning that the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $100 million program that will provide grants to small businesses around Michigan working to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

The State of Michigan has appropriated $100 million of federal CARES Act funding through SB 690, signed into law by Governor Whitmer last week, to implement the Michigan Small Business Restart Program to support Michigan’s small businesses that are reopening and have experienced a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Michigan Strategic Fund has authorized distribution of the funding across 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties in the state to providing a base amount of $3.5 million per EDO for grants up to $20,000 each to support certain small businesses that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Participating EDOs include:

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  • Southwest Michigan First – $7,545,455
  • InvestUP – $4,545,455
  • Networks Northwest – $4,545,455
  • Otsego County Economic Alliance – $3,500,000
  • Target Alpena – $3,500,000
  • The Right Place – $9,545,455
  • Lakeshore Advantage – $3,500,000
  • Middle Michigan Development Corporation – $3,500,000
  • Saginaw Future – $3,545,455
  • Flint & Genesee Chamber – $8,045,455
  • Lansing Area Economic Partnership – $5,545,455
  • Ann Arbor Spark – $8,545,455
  • Oakland County – $11,045,455
  • Macomb County – $7,545,455
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation – $15,545,450

The Michigan Small Business Restart Program application will be live starting a week from tomorrow, on Wednesday, July 15th at http://michiganbusiness.org/restart and run through Wednesday, August 5th. Funds can be used as working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses.

To qualify for grant support, businesses must meet the following criteria, based on statutory requirements for the program:

  • Is a business or nonprofit that can demonstrate it is affected by the COVID-19 emergency
  • Needs working capital to support eligible expenses
  • Demonstrates an income loss as result of the COVID-19 emergency
  • Has not received a grant through the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Michigan Small Business Relief Program. However, businesses who have received support through other COVID-19 relief programs, including the Michigan Small Business Relief Program loans, are eligible to apply for Restart grants.

Additionally, at least 30-percent of the funds awarded under the program must be provided to women-owned, minority-owned or veteran-owned eligible businesses. The MEDC anticipates that more than 5,000 businesses across the state will benefit from this program.

MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton says, “With the outbreak of COVID-19, many small businesses have been faced with significant economic impacts, including challenges with cash flow and resources to support their workforce,” and adds, “The Michigan Small Business Restart program, combined with other Michigan Strategic Fund programs and services as well as local and federal economic development support, will enable small businesses throughout the state to address the short-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis while looking ahead to the long-term economic recovery needs of the state.”

Per statutory requirements, a monthly report will be provided to the legislature that includes a listing of grants awarded in the previous month and the name of the recipient of each grant provided under the program. All reporting forms will also be available on michiganbusiness.org/restart.

Brian Calley, President of the Small Business Association of Michigan, says, “The Michigan Small Business Restart grants will be an important part of the economic recovery of small business in Michigan,” and notes, “This program leverages federal dollars to bring relief to entrepreneurs struggling with the effects of this global pandemic in a thoughtful way – including working through local EDOs to ensure resources are distributed in the most equitable and effective way for each region in the state.”

The Michigan Small Business Restart Program approved today is modeled after the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, approved on March 19th by the Michigan Strategic Fund to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program consisted of a total of $20 million aimed at supporting businesses in need of immediate relief. The program included $10 million that was distributed to 15 local EDOs to provide grants up to $10,000 to certain small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, the program authorized $10 million for small business loans of not less than $50,000 and not more than $100,000 to eligible borrowers impacted by COVID-19 that were not able to seek alternative, suitable financing.

Under the Michigan Small Business Relief grant program, local EDOs selected more than 2,700 businesses across the state covering all 83 counties that received grant support expected to retain approximately 11,000 jobs. A total of 26 businesses in Berrien County received $7,500 each in that round of grants. Thirteen Cass County businesses received grants of more than $3,000 each, and 22 in Van Buren County got $3,000 each with one additional business getting $6,000 in that round. To date, more than 130 small business loans totaling more than $8 million have been approved through MSF delegated approval.

The Michigan Strategic Fund today also approved the $15 million Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant Program to support the needs of Michigan’s agricultural processors and farms. The program supports the implementation of COVID-19 monitoring and mitigation strategies to protect agricultural employees and the state’s overall food production industry.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says, “The COVID-19 virus has especially impacted Michigan’s food and agriculture sector. This investment will provide critical resources to ensure the safety of Michigan’s food production industry and its workforce,” and adds, “We can further our economic recovery in Michigan by putting federal dollars through the CARES Act to work for the people and business across our state through efforts like these grants to farms and food processors.”

With today’s action by the MSF Board, the MEDC has launched 17 COVID-19 relief and recovery programs supporting more than 3,100 business in the state and helping to retain more than 12,400 jobs across all 83 counties.