MEDC approves two COVID-19 relief grant programs totaling $58.5M

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Birgit Klohs Courtesy The Right Place

The Michigan Strategic Fund of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation approved two grant programs to meet the urgent needs of small businesses and live event venues in Michigan that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) last week approved the Michigan Small Business Survival Grants and the Michigan Stages Survival Grants. Both grants total $58.5 million in relief funds, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The state of Michigan appropriated the funds through SB 748, signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Dec. 29, to implement the programs to support Michigan’s small businesses that have been especially impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” Whitmer said. “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.”

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.

MSF 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.

“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,” said MEDC CEO Mark Burton. “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.”

Michigan Small Business Survival Grants 

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. 

The Right Place will administer $5,250,000 in grants in Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Osceola counties.

“West Michigan’s small businesses continue to be critically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place. “As we approach nearly a year of navigating this pandemic the demand for assistance remains high, and the Survival Grants will offer a needed financial lifeline to small business throughout our region.”

Lakeshore Advantage will administer $1,925,000 in grants in Allegan and Ottawa counties.

A single, statewide application for the program went live at michiganbusiness.org/survival at 9 a.m. Tuesday and will be open through noon Friday, Jan. 22. 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 one to 100 employees (including full-time, part-time and owner/employees) on a worldwide basis on Nov. 17
  • Belong to an industry that demonstrates it is affected by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services epidemic orders
  • Need 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
  • Are 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 michiganbusiness.org/survival landing page. EDOs also will 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.

The michiganbusiness.org/survival landing page also will 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. An electronic queue system will be in effect, 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 in the queue by noon Friday 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 the landing page.

Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program 

The Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program will provide $3.5 million in one-time grants of up to $40,000 to eligible entertainment venues throughout Michigan. These 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 michiganbusiness.org/stages from 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, through noon Thursday, Jan. 28. The Michigan Independent Venue and Promoter Association (MIVPA) will be responsible for accepting, reviewing and approving applications by Feb. 28. The MEDC will distribute the grant funds based on the recommendation of the MIVPA.

Venues must meet these eligibility requirements:

  • Be located in the state of Michigan
  • Produce and/or present live, disciplined-based performance experiences
  • Demonstrate at least 33% of 2019 gross revenues are from the sale of tickets for live music or entertainment events or receive at least 70% 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% of second-quarter revenue from April 1-June 30, 2019
  • Employ less than 30 full-time staff members

A full list of application and eligibility requirements will be available at michiganbusiness.org/stages. 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.

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