Small businesses that closed at some point during the pandemic can apply for up to $20,000 from the state of Michigan starting next week.

The state Legislature approved $55 million for the program in December and details of the plan were approved by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on Thursday, Jan. 14.

It’s enough money to award grants to more than 2,600 businesses.

The $55 million Small Business Survival Grant Program will not be on a first-come, first-served basis – like a $10 million MEDC program was in December. There were more than 22,000 businesses that applied for that funding, and only the first 666 eligible businesses got the money, while the rest waited in an online queue all day to learn they missed out.

“Very literally, that was exhausted in a matter of minutes,” MEDC President and CEO Mark Burton said, expecting high demand again.

For details about the latest grant program and information on applying, visit michiganbusiness.org/survival. The application period opens at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and closes at noon on Friday, Jan. 22.

Businesses that fully closed at some point of the pandemic can get up to $20,000, while businesses that partially closed or never closed but were financially hurt by the pandemic can get up to $15,000.

Companies that can prove a larger loss of income because of the pandemic are likely to get closer to the maximum amount – although ultimately it’s up to 15 local Michigan economic development organizations distributing the funds to decide how to prioritize the money.

Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • Employed 1 to 100 workers (including full-time, part-time, owner/employees) on a worldwide basis on Nov. 17, 2020.
  • Operates in an industry that demonstrates it is affected by the state health orders.
  • Needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, etc.
  • Demonstrates an income loss as a result of the health orders.

Funds will start being released this month and most of it will be distributed by Feb. 28, said MEDC Executive Vice President Josh Hundt.

Since the pandemic started, the MEDC has offered $240 million to small businesses, including this latest funding. Businesses that received money in earlier rounds are still eligible for this round.

Even with this new $55 million, Burton acknowledges it isn’t enough to help everybody.

“There is a far, far greater need that exists than any amount of resources that we are facilitating through these programs,” Burton said.

Michigan has had stricter COVID-19 health restrictions than many states, especially in recent months. That has helped push numbers down in recent weeks, state leaders say, but also hurts businesses – making this funding essential.

“While Michigan continues to see progress from public health restrictions as compared to other states, we also recognize that many of our small businesses have made significant sacrifices over the course of this effort to save lives and repeatedly flatten the curve,” Burton said. “As a result, our small businesses continue to need emergency support – perhaps now more than ever, during these winter months.”

Another $3.5 million was also approved Thursday for live music and entertainment venues – which can get up to $40,000. Visit michiganbusiness.org/stages for more on how to apply. Businesses cannot get money from both this grant and the Small Business Survival Grant Program.

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