Start Garden awards $300K to entrepreneurs


Sixty-eight entrepreneurs received checks from Start Garden’s $300,000 relief fund, which was dubbed The Comeback Fund.

The relief efforts originated from the annual Start Garden 100 competition. After the COVID-19 global pandemic was declared, disrupting the business plans of entrepreneurs, the organization pivoted to offer a relief fund.

“Each day, we talk to entrepreneurs, many say that time is their biggest enemy,” said Jorge Gonzalez, Start Garden co-director. “When their April 1 bills came due, it was a serious blow. We knew they needed money before May 1, so we compressed what’s normally six months of work into three weeks. With so many requests, we wished we could do more. We’re confident we did the best we could as fast as possible.”

The funds were approved by a review committee after entrepreneurs were given 100 hours to apply for the grant. The winners were notified through Zoom calls.

The results of the 100-hour application process:

  • 430 applications submitted
  • $5.6 million in requests
  • 70% of fund requests were for $10,000 or less
  • 68 applicants were selected to receive funds
  • Selections were made and entrepreneurs notified in less than 100 hours
  • 88% of recipients indicated a household income of less than $60,000
  • 44% of recipients are female and 56% were male
  • 35% of recipients are Black, 32% are Caucasian, 25% are Hispanic, 4% are Asian, 3% identified as other.

“New business owners frequently pay everyone else before themselves. Almost instantaneously, their ability to provide for their own families was compromised,” Start Garden co-director Paul Moore said. “These funds targeted eliminating that problem for an entrepreneur as they spend the next few months navigating the daily changing landscape of how to make a comeback.”

The 68 recipients: 

5F Ventures LLC


Any Colour You Like Treats LLC

Arebelo & Associates

Art Caribbean Fusion Cuisine


Bare All LLC


Blackbird RSVP

Break Room Therapy

Bryan Esler Photo

Chez Olga LLC

CNN Cleaning LLC

Daddy’s Dough Cookies

Dime & Regal

Edgerow Property Management

El Globo Restaurant

El Granjero Mexican Grill

Emonae Korean BBQ


Flip Dog Yoga

Germination Labs

Grand Rapids Sport & Social Club

Graped Out

Guelaguetza Designs

Irie Kitchen

Jose Abreu Graphic Studio, antiguamente Koren Graphic Design*


La Casa del Pollo Loco


Life Addicts Studio

Lindo Mexico Restaurante Mexicano

Little Space Studio

Littlebird, That Earlybird, Kingfisher

Love’s Ice Cream & Chocolate

Luxe Artisan Preserves

Matt Everitt Productions

Michigan Clinical & Therapeutic Massage

Michigan House Creative

Mindset Meals

Mosbys Popcorn

Muse GR

New Valley Landscape LLC

Noble Strong Training LLC

Old World Olive Co.

Pack Elephant


Polished Nail Bar & Spa

Pottery Lane

Rising Grinds Cafe

Rogers Wealth Management Services, LLC

RYE Venue Management LLC DBA The Lit GR

SlothWerks LLC

Soldadera Coffee LLC

Sparkle All The Time

Supreme Focus Ent (Dj Composition)


Tacos el Cunado

The Comedy Project

The G-1:27 Collection

The Hot Spot Metal Studio

The Wisdom Center LLC

United Freedom Painting LLC


Wallway Technologies & Women in Tech with Ariana Podcast

Wear Your Curls

Wimage, LLC


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