Critical relief totaling approximately $52.5 million for nearly 6,000 small businesses across the state has been awarded to date through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Michigan Small Business Survival Grant program, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Wednesday.
“The Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program provides crucial support to Michigan’s small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “These grants, combined with additional business relief efforts offered by the MEDC, will create a strong foundation for Michigan’s long-term economic recovery. As we distribute the safe and effective vaccine and work to end the pandemic once and for all, I will continue partnering with leaders across the state and urging passage of the MI COVID Recovery plan to provide relief for our small businesses, protect public health and jumpstart our economy.”
Approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund on Jan. 14, the Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program allocated $55 million to provide support to Michigan small businesses to meet the urgent need of businesses that experienced a significant financial hardship due to COVID-19 emergency “gatherings and face mask orders.” The program allowed for grants of up to $20,000 to 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. A total of 5 percent of overall funding for the program was able to go toward administrative costs of the economic development organizations administering the grants.
The State of Michigan appropriated the funds through SB 748, signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, to support Michigan’s small businesses that have been especially impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Michigan Small Business Survival Grants program was administered by 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties across the state. The full list of EDOs administering the grants, the counties they served, and the number of businesses supported is below.
Yen Yoga & Fitness in Traverse City received a $20,000 Survival grant awarded by Networks Northwest and owner Sara Harding said she is grateful for the funds, which will allow her studio to deliver services to the community and help sustain her teachers.
“Yen Yoga & Fitness is honored to be a recipient of a survival grant from the MEDC,” Harding said. “This grant will directly assist our amazing team as our industry has been tremendously impacted due to the pandemic. We know that the pandemic impacts everyone, and we will continue to do what we can to support our community through health and wellness.”
To see the full list of businesses that received Survival grants, visit https://www.michiganbusiness.org/survival/.
Northern Trails Bar & Grille in Newaygo was the recipient of a $10,856 Survival grant awarded by The Right Place and according to owner Stephanie Barret, the funds helped cover the restaurant’s high payroll costs.
“The Small Business Survival Grant allowed us to cover payroll in our high-volume establishment. Our payroll costs have been crippling during the dine in shut down and due to the specific nature of our establishment, we are only able to reduce payroll costs so far,” Barret said. “In addition, we have an obligation to our loyal staff to do as much as possible to keep them afloat, so the grant allowed for us to have a small bit of breathing room. These last 10 months have rocked our industry and the ability to obtain this grant has given us a small bit of relief that we are very grateful for.”
To be eligible for grants under the program, businesses were required to 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.
- In an industry that demonstrated it was affected by the DHHS epidemic orders. Needed working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses.
- Demonstrated an income loss as a result of the Order as determined by the EDO in which an eligible business is located.
- Was not a live music and entertainment venue eligible for the Michigan Stage Survival grant program. Grant awards for the program to be announced in the coming weeks.
“The Michigan Small Business Survival Program is providing significant support to small businesses helping to get them through this critical time and on the path to economic recovery,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “We are thankful for the efforts of our economic development partners, who worked swiftly and diligently to deliver these vital financial resources within their regions and create a path toward economic recovery for small businesses throughout Michigan.”
Fit4Life, a full-service fitness studio located at 19522 W. McNichols on Detroit’s northwest side, is one of the businesses hard hit by the pandemic orders. Since the onset of the pandemic, Owner Felicia Maxwell has held outdoor boot camps and virtual classes to generate revenue. With restrictions still in place for exercise facilities, Maxwell desperately needed the help she received from the Survival grant, awarded by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.
“Until a large percentage of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19, I can’t get all of my clients back,” she said. “I’m dependent on grants and other assistance available to me. While I’m very thankful to be a Survival Grant recipient, I’d rather be fully back to business and helping my community get and stay healthy.”
In total, the MEDC has now launched 23 COVID-19 relief and recovery programs that have supported 24,460 businesses in the state and helped to retain nearly 200,000 jobs across all 83 counties. To learn more about MEDC’s COVID-19 response programs and the impact they are having on economic recovery efforts, visit michiganbusiness.org/covid19response.
Other resources for economic reopening efforts as well as businesses across Michigan struggling with economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at michiganbusiness.org/covid19.
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