Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today that relief totaling approximately $52.5 million had been provided to struggling Michigan small businesses. The aid that went to nearly 6000 small businesses came as part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s [MEDC] Michigan Small Business Survival Grant program.
“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 in a press release. “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 January 15, $55 million was allocated to support small businesses that have struggled to meet business needs in the past month due to the ongoing pandemic, reduced gatherings, and mask orders. The program allowed for $20,000 in aid to fully closed businesses, while grants of up to $15,000 were awarded to businesses that have only closed partially.
In total, the governor notes that over 52,500 jobs have been retained for Michigan workers due to the program. As far as the number of jobs retained for Detroit and the surrounding region, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation records that 3,135 jobs have been saved, while in Macomb 6,865 were retained and 9,730 in Oakland County.
For businesses to be eligible, they must have had 1 to 100 full-time or part-time employees; a demonstrated income loss that can be attributed to the pandemic orders, proof that working capital was required for payroll expenses, rent, mortgage, or utility expenses and must not have been a live-music venue. The businesses that received aid were mainly made up of foodservice establishments, retail, exercise facilities, and entertainment venues.
Felicia Maxwell, the owner of Fit4Life, a full-service fitness studio located at 19522 W. McNichols in Detroit, was one whose businesses struggled amid the Pandemic. With restrictions still in place due to the continued spread of the disease and still ongoing vaccine push, Maxwell and business owners like herself were in desperate need of support from the aid offered through the program.
“Until a large percentage of the population is vaccinated against COVID19, I can’t get all of my clients back,” she said in a press release put out by the office of the governor. “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, out of the 23 programs launched by the MEDC, 24,460 businesses in the state have seen support, while almost 200,000 jobs have been retained. More information about Michigan’s COVID-19 support programs can be found at michiganbusiness.org/covid19response.
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