Area small businesses awarded more than $4 million in state grants; aid retains 1,138 jobs in Genesee County

Area small businesses awarded more than $4 million in state grants; aid retains 1,138 jobs in Genesee County

Michigan Small Business Survival grants totaling $4.12 million were awarded to 291 small businesses in the seven-county Region 6.

Of those, 96 businesses are in Genesee County, according to the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. The grants helped businesses to retain 1,138 jobs in the county.

Each business received up to $15,000 in much-needed financial relief from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s (MEDC) Small Business Survival Grant Program.

Region 6 is comprised of Genesee, Shiawassee, Lapeer, Tuscola, Sanilac, St. Clair and Huron counties. . The Flint & Genesee Chamber is the economic development organization (EDO) for Region 6. In total, the grants retained 2,879 jobs in Region 6.

“This was a great program that allowed us to assist some of the businesses most affected by the state-mandated COVID shutdown,” says Tyler Rossmaessler, director of economic development at the Flint & Genesee Chamber. “It’s clear from the number of inquiries and applications received that tremendous need exists in our business community, as it recovers from the pandemic’s economic impact.”

The Flint & Genesee Chamber received nearly 1,600 applications from small businesses, which were scored based on the following criteria:

  • Whether the business was in a priority industry
  • Annual gross revenue loss
  • Years in operation
  • Total number of employees on Nov. 17, 2020

For the Survival Grant program, priority industries are defined as: food service establishments (i.e., restaurants and bars, coffee, bakeries, catering, breweries, distilleries, wineries, tea shops, banquet facilities and other food and beverage service providers); exercise facilities (i.e., such as gyms, studios, pool facilities, ice skating rinks, organized sports); and recreational facilities and places of public amusement (i.e., bowling centers, arcades, bingo halls).

The Genesee County applications were evaluated and scored, and grantees selected by an eight-member committee of business and community leaders. (Chamber staff were not committee members.) In addition, each county in Region 6 had its own local judging committee.

Grants were awarded on a competitive basis. To be eligible for funding under the MEDC program, a small business had to be a for-profit or nonprofit company and meet all criteria below.

  • Had 1 to 100 employees (including full-time, part-time and owner/employees) on a world-wide basis on November 17, 2020
  • In an industry that demonstrates it is affected by the state’s gatherings and face mask order
  • Needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses
  • Demonstrates an income loss as a result of the gatherings and face mask order

Announced in January, the Michigan Strategic Fund allocated $55 million to help meet the urgent need of Michigan small businesses that have experienced a significant financial hardship due to the recent COVID-19 emergency “gatherings and face mask orders.” The funds were allocated statewide to 15 nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) that were responsible for administering the program in their respective regions.

“The Michigan Small Business Survival Program is providing significant support to small businesses helping to get them through this critical time and on the path to economic recovery,” says Josh Hundt, MEDC’s chief business development officer and executive vice president. “We are thankful for the efforts of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, who worked swiftly and diligently to deliver these vital financial resources within their region and create a path toward economic recovery for small businesses in Michigan.”

To see the full list of businesses that received Survival grants, visit www.michigangbusiness.org/survival/.

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