Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative to provide $10M grants for COVID recovery

LANSING—The Michigan Strategic Fund board has approved a $10 million grant program to help meet the urgent needs of small businesses disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative will utilize federal CARES Act funding to award grants of up to $15,000 to more than 650 small businesses across Michigan.

“As we continue to take necessary precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19, many of Michigan’s small businesses are experiencing additional strain, particularly now during the holiday season and heading into winter,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “We are fully committed to supporting our small businesses and their employees across the state as they navigate and persevere through this pandemic. By putting this federal funding to work, we can provide immediate assistance to those businesses hardest-hit by the pandemic. As we continue fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, I will continue to listen to medical experts and do everything in my power to protect our families, frontline workers, and small businesses.”

The application period for small businesses seeking grants will begin on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative is intended to meet the urgent need of Michigan businesses including restaurants and bars, lodging providers, live event venues and movie theaters, conference and meeting facilities, indoor recreation facilities, and gyms and fitness centers. The grants under the program will support those businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce and may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, or utility expenses.

The program will provide a total of $10 million to one or more qualified grant administrators, who will administer and allocate grants of up to $15,000 each to eligible businesses around the state. Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis and the application window for small businesses will close once the targeted allocations within each of the state’s 10 prosperity regions are reasonably expected to be met.

To qualify for grant support, businesses must meet a number of criteria, including but not limited to:
• Being a business in one of the targeted industries;
• Identifying a need for payroll, rent, or mortgage payments, or utility expenses necessary to continue or restart business operations;
• Having at least two employees (including the owner) but fewer than 50;
• Additional eligibility requirements can be found on Michiganbusiness.org/relief.

In addition, applicants will be required to self-certify that they are following all state and local orders related to COVID-19, including, but not limited to, those issued by DHHS and county health departments. For the full list of requirements, visit here.

These federal CARES Act dollars were distributed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Michigan Community Development Block Grant program. A complete list of Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative grant recipients will be posted to michiganbusiness.org/relief. MSF today also approved up to $1 million to be used for administrative costs.

In further support of Michigan’s small businesses and their employees, MEDC’s new “Support Local” campaign launched last week, reminding Michiganders of the importance of supporting local businesses during the upcoming holidays and throughout the winter season. As efforts continue to combat the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign is intended to inspire Michiganders to shop, eat, and travel safely in their own neighborhoods and downtowns during the holiday season and beyond.

“Our priority continues to be focused on getting critically needed relief into the hands of those businesses that need it most,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative, along with our “Support Local” campaign, builds on our commitment to getting funds to small businesses across Michigan and creating a strong foundation for the success of Michigan’s workers and economy.”

According to the Michigan Retailers Association, one in five Michigan jobs are in the retail industry. Michigan residents sent $18.5 billion to out-of-state retailers in 2017. If only one in 10 out-of-state purchases were switched to local stores, Michigan would gain $1.2 billion in increased economic activity, creating 10,600 new jobs. Visit www.michigan.org/supportlocal to learn more about statewide opportunities to support small businesses in Michigan.

The Support Local campaign builds on the Pure Michigan Pledge, a promise to uphold local safety protocols and CDC travel guidelines to travel safely in the state.

The Pure Michigan Pledge outlines seven steps businesses in the travel industry will take to ensure a safe environment for travelers, as well as residents looking to shop, eat and stay locally.

In total, the MEDC has now launched 20 COVID-19 relief and recovery programs that have supported more than 18,500 businesses in the state and helped to retain nearly 147,000 jobs across all 83 counties. The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative is expected to benefit at least 670 small businesses and their employees. 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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