State awards survival grants to 6,000 small businesses

closed restaurant bar
Posted at 11:49 AM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 12:57:32-05

LANSING, Mich. — Almost 6,000 small businesses across Michigan were awarded a total of $52.5 million through the Small Business Survival Grant Program, according to a news release Wednesday.

More than 52,500 jobs for Michigan workers were retained as a result of the program, according to the state.

Grants were chosen and administered by 15 economic development organizations.

“These grants, combined with additional business relief efforts offered by the MEDC, will create a strong foundation for Michigan’s long-term economic recovery,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “As we distribute the safe and effective vaccine and work to end the pandemic once and for all, I will continue partnering with leaders across the state and urging passage of the MI COVID Recovery plan to provide relief for our small businesses, protect public health and jumpstart our economy.”

Approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund on Jan. 14, the program allocated $55 million to provide support to small businesses struggling because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The program allowed for grants of up to $20,000 to be awarded to businesses that are fully closes, with grants of up to $15,000 awarded to businesses that have been partially closed or otherwise open and can show an impact.

RELATED: $55 million in grants available for Michigan small businesses in need of COVID relief

Five percent of overall funding for the program was able to go toward administrative costs of the economic development organizations administering the grants.

Businesses in West Michigan received just over $7.8 million. The Right Place handled applications for Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Osceola Counties. Lakeshore Advantage administered Ottawa and Allegan Counties.

Northern Trails Bar & Grille in Newaygo received a $10,856 grant through the program, helping cover the restaurant’s high payroll costs.

“Our payroll costs have been crippling during the dine-in shutdown and due to the specific nature of our establishment, we are only able to reduce payroll costs so far,” owner Stephanie Barret said. “In addition, we have an obligation to our loyal staff to do as much as possible to keep them afloat, so the grant allowed for us to have a small bit of breathing room.”