The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced Friday that it would soon start accepting applications for up to $15,000 relief grants from small businesses “disproportionately impacted” by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The Michigan Strategic Fund approved the $10 million Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative on Nov. 30. Officials will start accepting the applications at 9 a.m. on Dec. 15 and will award them on a “first in basis.”
The program is intended for businesses with up to 50 employees affected by a current state emergency order closing dine-in service at bars and restaurants and various entertainment and conference facilities. The funding can be used to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments and utilities.
The program uses U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) CARES Act dollars “for many of the small businesses in Michigan hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “My administration will continue working to support our small businesses and their employees as they continue to navigate and persevere through this pandemic, through the Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative and all of the COVID-19 business relief efforts MEDC has implemented this year.”
Whitmer has also called on state lawmakers to pass $100 million in additional relief for businesses.
The state also said Friday that the Michigan Municipal League Foundation will administer the $10 million grant program. The organization will review applications from 10 regions across the state, and applicants must meet HUD requirements to retain jobs that would otherwise be lost without assistance through employment verification.
The region serving Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Ottawa counties has been allotted $1.3 million. The region serving Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Calhoun and Branch counties is allotted $800,000.
“These grants aim to support job retention in small businesses particularly impacted by the recent three-week shutdown caused by COVID-19,” MML Foundation President Helen Johnson said in a statement. “Small businesses are key to building community wealth, and the League is committed to supporting these activities and more in Michigan communities.”