Michigan Launching $58.5-M in Small Business & Stage Survival Grants Next Week

Additional help is on the way for small businesses and live event venues across Michigan that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in the form of $58.5-million in relief through Michigan Small Business Survival Grants and Michigan Stages Survival Grants. Michigan’s Great Southwest businesses will have up to $4.15-million in that pot of dollars.

That money was approved Thursday by the Michigan Strategic Fund through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The State of Michigan appropriated the funds through SB 748, when it was signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on December 29th, to implement the programs to support Michigan’s small businesses that have been especially impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Whitmer says, “From the beginning, my administration has been deeply committed to providing some crucial support to Michigan’s small businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” adding, “With these grant programs, we can provide immediate assistance to those businesses. As we work to distribute the safe and effective vaccine and end the pandemic once and for all, I will continue to partner with leaders across the state to provide relief for our small businesses and their employees.”

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The Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program will provide $55 million in grants to meet the urgent need of Michigan small businesses that have experienced a significant financial hardship due to the recent COVID-19 emergency “gatherings and face mask orders.” Grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded to businesses that are fully closed, with grants of up to $15,000 awarded to businesses that have been partially closed, or otherwise are open and can demonstrate an impact.

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved the $3.5 million Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program, which will provide up to $40,000 in one-time grants to eligible Michigan live music and entertainment venues that have experienced a significant financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Small Business Survival Grants will be administered by 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties across the state. A single, statewide application for the program will be live at http://michiganbusiness.org/survival beginning at 9:00 am EST on Tuesday, January 19th through 12:00 noon EST on Friday, January 22nd. Grants will be reviewed and awarded by the EDOs based on eligibility requirements and local priorities and objectives, not on a first-come, first-served basis.

Businesses must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Had 1 to 100 employees (including full-time, part-time and owner/employees) on a world-wide basis on November 17, 2020.
  • Is in an industry that demonstrates it is affected by the DHHS epidemic orders.
  • Needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses.
  • Can demonstrate an income loss as a result of the Order as determined by the EDO in which an eligible business is located.
  • Is not a live music and entertainment venue that is eligible for the Michigan Stage Survival grant program.

Individual EDOs may have additional eligibility requirements, which businesses will be able to access from the website landing page indicated above. EDOs will also have discretion on grant awards up to the maximum of $20,000 for businesses that are fully closed and $15,000 to businesses that have been partially closed, or otherwise are open and can demonstrate an impact.

Participating Economic Development Organizations:

The michiganbusiness.org/survival landing page will also provide businesses with resources to prepare their application, including the application questions and a tutorial video detailing all steps. Businesses must have an account set up in ConnectSpace to submit an application, also linked on the landing page, which can be established prior to applying. For the convenience of applicants, an electronic queue system will also be in effect once again with businesses entering the queue prior to entry into the application. Businesses will be able to sign up to receive an alert when they have reached the front of the queue, and all applicants who are in the queue by 12:00 noon EST on Friday, January 22nd will have an opportunity to complete the application and be considered for funding.

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. A full list of grant awardees will be available on michiganbusiness.org/survival.

The Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program was also approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund on Thursday. That program will provide a total of $3.5 million in one-time grants of up to $40,000 to eligible entertainment venues throughout Michigan. Those funds are to be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or costs related to reopening a business.

The application will be available at www.michiganbusiness.org/stages starting at 9:00 am EST on Thursday, January 21st through 12:00 noon EST on Thursday, January 28th, 2021. The Michigan Independent Venue and Promoter Association will be responsible for accepting, reviewing and approving applications by February 28, 2021. The MEDC will distribute the grant funds based on the recommendation of the MIVPA.

Venues must meet eligibility requirements that include:

  • Be located in the state of Michigan.
  • Produce and/or present live, disciplined-based performance experiences.
  • Demonstrate at least 33-percent of 2019 gross revenues are from the sale of tickets for live music or entertainment events OR receive at least 70-percent of its earned revenue through cover charges or tickets sales, production fees or production reimbursements, nonprofit educational initiatives, or the sale of event beverages, food or merchandise.
  • Demonstrate second quarter revenues from April 1- June 30, 2020 were not greater than 10-percent of second quarter revenue from April 1-June 30, 2019.
  • Employ less than 30 full time employees.

A full list of application and eligibility requirements is available at the stages link. 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. A full list of grant awardees will be available on michiganbusiness.org/stages.

MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton says, “We have seen the urgent need for these resources for small businesses across the state, and MEDC is proud to work with our local partners and industry leaders to ensure this funding gets into the hands of businesses efficiently, effectively and with the greatest impact possible,” and adds, “We continue to stay focused on both immediate relief efforts, and also ensuring we have runway for economic recovery in the coming year through existing efforts around business retention and growth, supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem and creating vibrant communities throughout Michigan.”