More than 11.3K Michigan businesses awarded grants through Small Business Restart Program

As of September 10, $69 million in grants have been awarded, with all remaining grants to be awarded by September 30, 2020 and reported by mid-October.
Grant money graphic.
Grant money graphic.(WLUC)
Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 1:34 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - More than 11,300 small businesses and nonprofits across Michigan have been awarded $69 million in grants by local economic development organizations as of September 10, 2020 through the Michigan Small Business Restart Grant Program, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The program was launched to provide relief for small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past six months, small business owners who have spent their entire lives building their businesses have made incredible sacrifices to protect their communities and our brave frontline workers from COVID-19. I know it hasn’t been easy, which is why we’re working around the clock to provide support for our small business owners. The Michigan Small Business Restart Program is providing much-needed relief to those small businesses and nonprofits hardest hit by the impact of COVID-19 as they work to recover from the pandemic,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “This program puts federal funding to work for Michigan’s small businesses and builds on additional COVID-19 business relief efforts offered by the MEDC to create a strong foundation for Michigan’s long-term economic recovery.”

Approved in July, the Michigan Small Business Restart Program allocated $100 million of federal CARES Act funding to provide support to Michigan’s small businesses and nonprofits that are reopening and have experienced a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The funding was distributed across 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties in the state for grants up to $20,000 to support certain small businesses and nonprofits that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of September 10, $69 million in grants have been awarded, with all remaining grants to be awarded by September 30, 2020 and reported by mid-October. At least 72,950 jobs have been retained for Michigan workers through these initial grant awards. Of the businesses to receive an award to date, 3,030 reported as minority-owned, 4,365 reported as woman-owned, and 550 reported as veteran-owned, with some businesses selecting multiple categories. At least 30 percent of the funds awarded under the program were required to be provided to women-owned, minority-owned or veteran-owned eligible businesses, and all EDOs are on track to meet, or exceed, this requirement in the awards being made.

$4.5 million has been awarded to 730 businesses and non-profits across the Upper Peninsula, InvestUP says.

“We are so grateful to our federal and state legislators, the Governor and our partners at the Michigan Strategic Fund and the MEDC for making this funding available to Upper Peninsula businesses.  Despite their incredible efforts to muscle through this crisis, the number of applications we received from small businesses further illustrates the profound need that the small business community has to manage this unprecedented challenge – which has also further demonstrated that small businesses are the heartbeat of the local economy,” said Marty Fittante, CEO of InvestUP.  “Judging from the number of heartfelt messages we received from the grantees who were selected, it is clear that for many, this funding was truly a lifeline.  Our one regret is that we did not have the funds to address the needs of all who applied as selecting recipients here was so difficult, as those businesses and non-profits that were not fortunate enough to receive an award were very deserving and in need as well.”

“Receiving the Michigan Restart Grant was a life-saver for me and my salon,” said Kate Chaperon, owner of The Good Earth Salon in Iron Mountain. “During the COVID shutdown, there were many times as a small business owner where I wondered if we would make it through. Without the deferral of most bills, and with my family having two small business as our only sources of income, savings accounts dwindled, and talks were had about selling assets. The Restart Grant helped us get back on our feet. It was an opportunity to help with payroll expenses, taxes due, and overhead. Words cannot express my gratitude for this opportunity. I am thankful for the people that made this happen and overjoyed that The Good Earth Salon was a recipient.”

Clare Tasson, the owner of Pine Grove Bar in Republic said, “The grant has helped pay the bills that we needed to pay. It has been a great help and has been wonderful for us to have. We are getting caught up on everything. It has helped our bar so much.”

Of the funding awarded through this program, the legislature required at least 30 percent of that allocation to be awarded to eligible businesses that were women-owned, minority-owned, or veteran-owned. That statutory threshold apparently motivated business owners from these three communities to apply for the grant in the Upper Peninsula, as women-owned, veteran-owned and minority-owned businesses made up nearly 49 percent of all applicants, with nearly a like number of those applicants being selected. The average grant award across all U.P. counties is just under $6,000.

“The Michigan Small Business Restart Program is providing a significant opportunity to address immediate needs of small businesses and nonprofits as they work to recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Mark A. Burton. “We are proud to work with our economic development partners to deliver these vital financial resources and create a path toward economic recovery for small businesses throughout Michigan.”

The grants under the Michigan Small Business Restart Program may be used as working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses.

To qualify for grant support, businesses had to meet the following criteria, based on statutory requirements for the program:

  • Is a business or nonprofit with fewer than 50 employees that can demonstrate it is affected by the COVID-19 emergency
  • Needs working capital to support eligible expenses
  • Demonstrates an income loss as a result of the COVID-19 emergency

Selected EDOs were responsible for reviewing applications of small businesses in their region and ultimately determining grant awards through the program. Each EDO established a review committee that could include representatives from local workforce agencies, local SBDC representatives, business and nonprofit leaders, among others. The full list of EDOs administering Michigan Small Business Restart grants, the counties they served, and the number of businesses supported is below.

To see the full list of businesses that were awarded Restart grants as of September 10, 2020, click here. Upper Michigan businesses are awarded grants through InvestUP.

The Michigan Small Business Restart Program is modeled after the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, approved on March 19 by the Michigan Strategic Fund to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program consisted of a total of $20 million aimed at supporting businesses in need of immediate relief. The program included $10 million that was distributed to 15 local EDOs to provide grants up to $10,000 to certain small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, the program authorized $10 million for small business loans of not less than $50,000 and not more than $100,000 to eligible borrowers impacted by COVID-19 that were not able to seek alternative, suitable financing.

Prior to today’s announcement, the MEDC had launched 19 COVID-19 relief and recovery programs expected to support up to 10,000 businesses in the state and helping to retain more than 21,000 jobs across all 83 counties. To learn more about MEDC’s COVID-19 response programs and the impact they are having on economic recovery efforts, visit Other resources for economic reopening efforts as well as businesses across Michigan struggling with economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC): The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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