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Michigan announces new grant program to help small businesses expand, winterize outdoor capacity

Posted at 11:00 AM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 11:00:57-05

LANSING, Mich. — At least $3 million in grants will be available to help small businesses weather the cold this winter, according to a news release Friday.

It’s thanks to a partnership between the Small Business Association of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

The grants are meant to help qualifying small businesses expand outdoor dining capacity during the cold weather months.

Eligible businesses may apply to receive between $1,000 and $10,000 in funding for weatherized, temporary outdoor facilities.

In addition, eligible municipalities and local organizations may apply to receive up to $15,000.

Federal CARES Act funding is supporting the grants.

“There’s no question that these weatherization grants are going to make a real difference for Michigan’s small businesses this winter,” SBAM President Brian Calley said. “Fully utilizing outdoor seating and capacity has been critical to businesses across the state in their efforts to operate safely through this COVID-19 pandemic. And with winter weather diminishing that capacity, providing businesses with the assistance they need to expand and weatherize their outdoor capacity is an important way to help small businesses stay afloat but keep everyone safe this winter.”

Commercial firms and nonprofits with 50 or fewer full-time employees in the following industries are eligible to apply for the funding: restaurants, bars, banquet centers, retail stores, gyms and fitness centers, local governments and commercial property owners who provide common space for tenants.

Applicants can use the funds to construct temporary structures such as canopies and igloos or purchase portable heaters, outdoor furniture and tableware, cooking equipment and other related safety and security upgrades needed to increase outdoor capacity.

Purchases must be made between Aug. 1 and Dec. 30.

Applications open Nov. 18 and can be found here.