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Published in Small Business

State launches $115M grant program for small biz, agriculture relief

BY Wednesday, July 15, 2020 04:54am

A pair of state grant funds totaling $115 million launches today as another source of financial assistance for small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application process for the two grant programs opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Working through 15 economic development organizations around the state, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. will accept applications through Aug. 5 for the Michigan Small Business Restart Program and Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant Program. The funding comes from the federal CARES Act.

MEDC CEO Mark Burton COURTESY PHOTO

“We are working to build a runway for the long-term economic recovery here in the state,” MEDC CEO Mark Burton said Tuesday during a media conference call.

The $100 million Small Business Restart Program will provide grants of up to $20,000 to small businesses and nonprofits to use for working capital to pay payroll, rent, mortgages, utilities and other expenses related to reopening following state shutdown orders issued during the pandemic.

Under legislation state lawmakers enacted allocating federal CARES Act funding to the grant programs, 30 percent of the $100 million to go to eligible businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans.

Local economic development agencies will administer the program, review grant applications and make decisions on awards. Each organization will receive at least $3.5 million to distribute.

Of the $100 million, The Right Place Inc. in Grand Rapids will receive a little more than $9.5 million to distribute, and Zeeland-based Lakeshore Advantage will get $3.5 million. The MEDC allocated a little more than $7.5 million to Southwest Michigan First, while the Lansing Area Economic Partnership got $5.5 million.

The Agricultural Safety Grant Program includes $10 million for grants to agricultural processors and $5 million for farms. The funds will provide $1,000 per employee to cover the costs from June 1 to Sept. 15 related to COVID-19 testing, personal protection equipment, facility needs, higher sanitation costs, employee training, and upgraded safety procedures for farm-provided housing.

Agriculture processing grants will range from $10,000 to $200,000, and safety grants will range from $10,000 to $50,000. The MEDC will directly administer the Agricultural Safety Grant Program.

The two new grant funds follow the earlier $20 million grant and loan relief funds created in March that worked through economic development organizations across the state. Following the earlier initiative, the MEDC worked with local economic development groups to simplify the application process for the new grant funds “to make it even more user friendly,” Burton said.

Read 9946 times Last modified on Tuesday, 14 July 2020 16:57
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