More than 2,700 businesses around state awarded total of $10 million in Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

• Businesses in all 83 counties across Michigan receive relief • Grants resulted in retention of at least 11,015 jobs for Michigan workers • $3.185 million in matching dollars leveraged from local partners

LANSING, MICH. – More than 2,700 small businesses around Michigan have been awarded a total of $10 million in grants by local economic development organizations through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The program was launched to provide relief for small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants were intended to provide critical capital to support the health and sustainability of the state’s small businesses, communities and workforce,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “By collaborating with our local economic development partners, we were able to deliver vital resources to small businesses all across Michigan.”

The grants under the Michigan Small Business Relief Program are intended to 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.

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants, authorized by the Michigan Strategic Fund on March 19, were administered by 15 local and nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) around Michigan. The EDOs were selected through a competitive process based on capacity to administer the program and ensure coverage to small businesses in all 83 counties in Michigan.

Selected EDOs were responsible for reviewing applications of small businesses in their region and ultimately determining grant awards through the program. Each EDO established a review committee that could include representatives from local workforce agencies, local SBDC representatives, business and nonprofit leaders, among others. The full list of EDOs administering Michigan Small Business Relief grants, the counties they served, and the number of businesses supported is below.

Groovy Donuts of Lansing was awarded a $10,000 grant through the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), and the funds put the company in a much more stable position to meet its meet rent, utilities, and payroll obligations, according to founder Andrew Gauthier.

"Groovy Donuts is incredibly honored to have received a Small Business Relief Program Grant. We are very relieved as well. The biggest concern for us remains the uncertainty of our world with COVID-19 as a part of our daily lives. Our way of life and how we are allowed to go about our daily routines can change by the hour and that sort of thing creates a lot of uncertainty for us, especially as small business owners,” Gauthier said. “While the grant we received isn't a silver bullet solution to the financial impact of the pandemic, it is a huge help in the fight to stay open for our community and our team. It also provided a crucial bridge for us while we applied for PPP funds, which it looks like we will receive. We thank the MEDC and LEAP for considering and selecting Groovy Donuts for this grant. We look forward to a time when we can return to ‘normal.’ In the meantime, we'll keep our doors open and make sure our staff and our valued customers are well taken care of.”

In addition to the $10 million in grant funds, the Michigan Strategic Fund also approved $10 million in loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program that are being referred to the MEDC from the local EDO partners. Those loan applications are currently being reviewed by a loan review committee including the Chief Business Development Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development Projects as referrals are made from local EDO partners. All loans made through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will be approved through Michigan Strategic Fund delegated authority and announced as they are finalized.

“This grant means so much to our small, longtime family-owned business. With these funds, we will be able to afford our inventory and keep our employees paid,” said Bruno Gervasi, owner of Ralph’s Italian Deli in Ishpeming. “I am so grateful to the Lake Superior Community Partnership and the MEDC for making this possible during such a challenging time. This is a real difference maker for us.”

Summary of grants allocated by local economic development organizations:


*NOTE: Not all EDOs requested jobs retention numbers from applicants.

The $10 million in grant funds leveraged an additional $3.185 million in matching dollars around the state through local economic development and foundation partners.

To see the full list of businesses that received MSBRP grants, visit

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants builds on previous COVID-19 support announced through the MEDC, including:

  • The PMBC COVID-19 Emergency Access and Retooling Grants program, which awarded $1 million to 12 small manufacturers and non-profits in the state looking to retool and produce critical health and human service supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Collateral support through the Capital Access program that allowed National Filters to purchase equipment necessary to vastly increase surgical mask production begin producing N95 respirators as well as rehire 16 employees who had been previously laid off due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The launch of in collaboration with the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants to help 103,811 small businesses in Michigan receive more than $15.9 billion in forgivable loans during two rounds of Paycheck Protection Program funding.
  • Working with the Michigan Small Business Development Center to support Governor Whitmer’s successful request to the U.S. Small Business Administration for a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration, opening the opportunity to small businesses to access low-interest loans from the SBA.
  • The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) launched a new program providing a total of $502,400 in federal grants to Michigan’s eligible nonprofit arts and culture organizations that have been negatively impacted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other resources for businesses across Michigan struggling with economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at This site includes resources offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, MEDC’s Access to Capital programs, the Pure Michigan Business Connect virtual procurement and donation 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

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and

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 8AM – 5PM daily.

Quotes from local partners:

Ann Arbor SPARK:
“Ann Arbor SPARK was able to quickly deploy $327,000 in grant funding in Washtenaw County and $168,000 in Livingston County, helping affected businesses,” said Ann Arbor SPARK President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Krutko. “We remain vigilant in our commitment to restoring and advancing the economy of our region by providing the resources and information the business community needs during this challenging time.”

Invest UP:
“We appreciate the intent of the funding that the MEDC worked quickly to pull together and the $500,000 that was allocated to us,” said Marty Fittante, CEO, InvestUP. “Small businesses are the backbone of the U.P. and these grants helped provide some financial support to 80 of them across the Upper Peninsula. Yet, this was only 10 percent of the total applications submitted reinforcing the ongoing demand and need for small business funding which was clearly illustrated through this process.”

Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP):
“Everyone at LEAP has been both inspired and heartbroken by the thousands of small business stories shared through the MSBRP grant applications. Our small businesses are a cornerstone of our regional economy and the fabric of our regional community—their pain is felt by us all,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “The MSBRP grant program has brought good news to many. These grants are a bridge, bringing in some cash flow and increasing the likelihood of a stronger re-opening in the future. The Lansing region is most thankful to Governor Whitmer and the MEDC for these desperately needed funds.”

Macomb County:
“Macomb County is grateful to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for making these dollars available as quickly as they did,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “Combined with a generous donation from First State Bank, we were able to assist nearly 150 businesses who in turn are able to retain some 1,600 employees.”

Networks Northwest:
“The economic disruption associated with the COVID-19 outbreak is having significant effects on businesses in Northwest Michigan,” said Networks Northwest CEO Matt McCauley. “This grant and loan program will contribute to our region’s economic resiliency and eventual recovery.”

Southwest Michigan First:
“Our region’s small businesses are led by community members whom we support and admire for all that they do. We want to ensure they come out of this with as much hope and opportunity as when they went in. These grant awards have made a tremendous impact on over 1,700 individuals here in Southwest Michigan, and their stories have been heartwarming to hear,” said Ron Kitchens, CEO and senior partner at Southwest Michigan First. “We thank everyone who participated in this process, the Michigan Strategic Fund and, in particular, Governor Whitmer for making these grant awards possible.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.