How small businesses can apply for financial relief from COVID-19 – News – Ionia Sentinel – Standard-Ionia, MI

HOLLAND — Small businesses in Michigan that have been negatively affected by COVID-19 can apply for grants and loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program.

Statewide there will be $10 million total available to small businesses with under 50 employees, and $10 million available in loans. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. anticipates that at least 1,100 businesses across the state will benefit from the program.

The funds will be administered by 15 local and nonprofit economic development organizations across Michigan, covering all 83 counties in the state. Businesses in Ottawa and Allegan counties will apply through Lakeshore Advantage.

Applications for the grant and the loan (same application for both programs) will open online at lakeshoreadvantage.com/covid-19 on Monday, March 30, and close at 5 p.m. Friday, April 6. More information on how to apply can be found at michiganbusiness.org/covid19.

“Small businesses affected by COVID-19 need financial resources, and this is a monetary tool we are able to provide through administering this grant and loan locally,” said Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage. “Outside of this program, we are in touch daily with businesses and polling them weekly to know what resources they need right now and our team is diligently making those connections to help.”

Lakeshore Advantage will receive $300,000 in grant money available for Allegan and Ottawa county small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, with a maximum grant amount of $10,000. Their team will be working with local chambers and banking leaders to carefully vet the limited number of businesses funded, according to a Lakeshore Advantage press release.

Loans are between $50,000-$200,000. Lakeshore Advantage will be working with local banking leaders to vet and process applications. The MEDC will make the final funding decisions for the program.

“Small businesses across our state are facing unprecedented challenges as we take every step possible to mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “With this funding, we can provide real assistance to support our businesses, communities, entrepreneurs and workers around the state impacted by the tough, but necessary actions we are taking to mitigate the spread of this virus.”

The local economic development organizations are responsible for reviewing applications of small businesses in their region and entering into agreements with eligible small businesses. Each economic development organization will establish a review committee that may include representatives from local workforce agencies, local SBDC representatives, business and nonprofit leaders.

The grants and loans under the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will support businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce and may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.

Local and nonprofit EDOs across Michigan applied for the grant funds and were selected based on capacity to administer the program and ensure coverage to small businesses in all 83 counties in Michigan.

The $10 million in loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will be referred to the MEDC from the local EDO partners where it will be reviewed by a loan review committee including the Chief Business Development Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development Projects. All loans made through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will be approved through Michigan Strategic Fund delegated authority.

“We know small businesses across the state are struggling right now, and we are leveraging every resource available to provide relief in the face of these challenging economic circumstances,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “The Michigan Small Business Relief Program will provide immediate assistance to support the health and sustainability of the state’s small businesses, communities and residents.”

Key information to know about the application process includes:

There is one application, regardless of whether a business is applying for a grant or a loan. A business may receive a grant or a loan, but not both.
Businesses who do not receive grants may still be considered for loans.
The grants will be administrated by 15 regional economic development organizations throughout the state, which combined cover all 83 counties in Michigan.
All applications or recommendations for Michigan Small Business Relief Program loans will be referred from the partner EDOs to the MEDC for evaluation and disbursement.
Businesses should go to michiganbusiness.org/covid19 to apply.

— Contact reporter Kate Carlson at kcarlson@hollandsentienl.com and follow her on Twitter @SentinelKate and @BizHolland.

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