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Applications for Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative grants go live on Dec. 15

Posted at 11:48 AM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 11:49:01-05

LANSING, Mich. — Small businesses in Michigan that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus will be able to apply for grants of up to $15,000 starting Tuesday.

Friday the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced grants are available through the Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The program will use $10 million in federal U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) CARES Act funding to provide economic assistance to small businesses across Michigan.

The grants will be awarded in the amount of up to $15,000 per eligible business on a “first-in” basis. Information on how to apply, application questions and instructions, and a video tutorial on the application process can be found HERE. The website also lists eligibility criteria and program guidelines.

“The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative puts federal funding to work for many of the small businesses in Michigan hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “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. As we head into the holiday season, I also want to remind Michiganders to support your favorite local businesses by shopping small. And as always, mask up, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved the initiative on Nov. 30, which allocates $10 million of federal CARES Act funding to provide support to Michigan’s small businesses that have experienced a loss of income as a result of both the COVID-19 crisis and the recent DHHS epidemic orders, which were recently extended to Dec. 20.

The program aims to meet the urgent need of Michigan businesses such as restaurants and bars, live event venues and movie theaters, indoor recreation facilities, and gyms and fitness centers. The grants awarded will support those businesses facing steep reductions in income and the ongoing support of their workforce. The grants may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, or utility expenses.

MEDC has selected the Michigan Municipal League (MML) Foundation as the only, statewide grant administrator for the Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative. MML Foundation will review submitted applications from all 10 prosperity regions across the state once the application window opens on December 15.

“The Michigan Municipal League Foundation is excited to serve as the administrator of the Pure Michigan Small Business Relief grant program,” said Helen Davis Johnson, president of the MML Foundation. “These grants aim to support job retention in small businesses particularly impacted by the recent three-week shutdown caused by COVID-19. Small businesses are key to building community wealth, and the League is committed to supporting these activities and more in Michigan communities.”

The funds will be awarded on a first-in basis and the application window will close once the targeted allocations within each of the regions are reasonably expected to be met. The table below shows the funding allocations per prosperity region.

In order to qualify for grant support, businesses must meet several criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Being a business in one of the targeted industries;
  • Identifying a need for payroll, rent, or mortgage payments, and/or utility expenses necessary to continue or restart business operations;
  • Having at least two employees (including the owner) but fewer than 50;
  • Be a for-profit business, per HUD guidance;
  • Meet the HUD National Objective for Job Retention by retaining jobs that would otherwise be lost without assistance through employment verification

Applicants will be required to self-certify that they are adhering to all state and local orders related to COVID-19, including, but not limited to, those issued by DHHS and county health departments.

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