State supports $1.5 million fund to help small businesses recover from COVID-19 crisis

LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has partnered with Michigan Women Forward and is announcing the creation of the $1.5 million Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund to help entrepreneurs and small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 recover from the outbreak, as well as assist them in meeting increased demands in support of COVID-19 response efforts.

“As Michigan begins to focus on economic recovery efforts across the state, it is critical that we make sure support and relief are accessible for all entrepreneurs and small businesses in need,” said LeTasha Peebles, grant manager for the MEDC. “We’re grateful for the partnership of Michigan Women Forward in supporting this fund, which will play a key role in ensuring every member of our state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has the tools and support they need to recover from this crisis.”

The Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund will provide recovery grants of $1,000-$5,000 and microloans of $5,000-$10,000 to small businesses who are in need and have been adversely affected by COVID-19 closures, with at least 150 businesses statewide expected to benefit. Small businesses interested in applying for support through the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund can do so now by visiting miwf.org/mwf-entrepreneur-resilience-fund.

“This fund will be vital in helping small businesses throughout Michigan keep their doors open and their workers paid, while offering much-needed economic support during this unprecedented outbreak,” said Maggie McCammon, portfolio manager for the MEDC. “Michigan Women Forward has a demonstrated track record of successfully providing holistic support for small businesses across the state and MEDC looks forward to working together with them and the other supporting partners as our state moves toward recovery.”

“At Michigan Woman Forward, we are dedicating ourselves to doing everything we possibly can to help Michigan’s small businesses re-open and recover from this crisis,” said Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO, MWF. “Funding is just the beginning. We will also pair our entrepreneurs with experts to help answer questions and guide their decision making at this critical time.”

Funds awarded through the program can be used to support small businesses in managing expenses through the recovery phase, including rent, payroll, and inventory, due to the significant economic impacts of COVID-19. The fund can also advance business growth by providing working capital to assist with increased product or service demand in response to COVID-19, to allow a company to revamp their business virtually through a strengthened online presence, or to start up a company to meet a new demand as a result of COVID-19.

The $1.5 million fund includes support of $500,000 from MEDC and $500,000 from Michigan Women Forward’s SBA microlending funds, along with partners including Consumers Energy Foundation, the New Economy Initiative, General Motors Corporation, Fifth Third Bank and Comerica Bank. Michigan Women Forward is also working with other potential funding partners to provide additional opportunities for grants and loans through the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund.

Other resources for businesses across Michigan to assist them in recovering from economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at michiganbusiness.org/covid19. This site includes resources offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pure Michigan Business Connect procurement platform, support services offered through the Small Business Development Center and more.

The MEDC has also developed a FAQ for Michigan businesses and communities at michiganbusiness.org/covid19-faq.

For those who have questions about the state’s actions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. — G.G.