New state grant program offering COVID relief to businesses

More public funds will flow to businesses through a new program.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that starting March 1, a new state cash program, the Distressed Business Relief Grant Program, will be available to provide businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with support. financing of $409 million.

Under this program, eligible businesses that were in business before October 1, 2019 can receive a percentage of their loss in total state sales through a grant of up to $5 million. Eligible businesses that started operating between October 1, 2019 and June 1, 2020 can receive a grant equal to 25% of certain specified costs.


“The Treasury is committed to ensuring that these payments are received by eligible businesses,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said in a statement. “We are working with our businesses and community partners to ensure that potential applicants are aware of this funding opportunity.”

Funds come from the state’s allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Eligible businesses must not be tax exempt or be a government entity. They include the following:

  • entertainment venues
  • Recreational facilities or public place of amusement
  • Cosmetology or barber services
  • Training room/gym
  • Catering establishment
  • Nurseryman or producer
  • athletic trainer
  • body art center
  • Hotel or bed and breakfast

Grants may be pro-rated based on the number of companies applying to ensure that all eligible companies can receive funding.

Carl Osentoski, executive director of the Huron County Economic Development Corporation, said that with this grant, along with other recent state grants that help businesses, the state government has realized the huge negative impact of the closure of these places and businesses early in the pandemic. Heads of state have focused on how they can help keep these businesses running.

Osentoski also said small business development centers have seen an increase in people coming to determine their finances and whether they can afford to stay in business. This program in turn builds on previous ones that were primarily aimed at keeping businesses afloat.

“These are fundamental businesses in inner cities,” Osentoski said. “In our region with shorelines, these are a crucial area for us. I think the state is very aware that businesses have been affected and is trying to support them.

Previous similar state programs allocated more funds to more urban than rural areas because they have more people and are more commercially dense. Osentoski said that from the perspective of rural areas, the funding was not enough, but they were trying to work with the programs presented.

“There’s never enough money for everyone,” Osentoski said.

From his understanding, Osentoski thinks this program will work to try to distribute more funding across the state and not just in urban centers, as state leaders are aware that businesses in rural areas have also been affected. . He hopes that more funding programs like this will materialize in the future, as the state still has a substantial amount of ARPA funds that it has yet to use.

Businesses must submit a completed online application to the Michigan Department of Treasury by 11:59 p.m. on March 31. Scholarship recipients will be notified in the spring and scholarships will be distributed by July 1.

Businesses applying must provide financial documents and information to verify their decline in Michigan for those in operation before October 1, 2019, or financial documents to verify fixed costs for calendar year 2020 for businesses that started to operate between October 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020.

Those interested in applying can also attend two upcoming webinar sessions taking place on the grants program website at www.michigan.gov/abr from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on February 22 and from 1 p.m. 2 p.m. on March 7, 2022.

The app will be available on this website starting at 8 a.m. on March 1.

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