This Just In: Michigan is Building an Arsenal of Innovation to Fight COVID-19

Friday, May 1, 2020

Michigan businesses answer the call in the fight against COVID-19.

As the world faces an unprecedented public health crisis, Michigan is coming together to beat the odds as its businesses and workers unleash the state’s “Arsenal of Innovation” to combat the spread of COVID-19.

With health systems around the world facing a shortage of desperately needed personal protection equipment for workers on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19, businesses of all sizes are rethinking their products and retooling their shops to provide critical support to ongoing response efforts.

Companies that just a few months ago were making tents, engines and hydraulic filter cartridges have pivoted to drive-through tents for COVID-19 screening, respirators and surgical masks.

“Michigan’s Arsenal of Innovation is helping drive the fight against COVID-19, and MEDC is proud to play a role in providing immediate capital and support to small businesses that are stepping up to retool and aid in recovery efforts during this time of need,” MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton said.

In Traverse City, for example, TentCraft, Inc. had never manufactured products for the healthcare or medical industry. But after receiving a PMBC COVID-19 Emergency Access and Retooling Grant, the company was able to pivot toward these new products, helping to keep their workers on the job while producing PPE products needed by frontline healthcare workers.

“This grant allows us to keep our people employed AND helps us to produce products that are sorely needed by the frontline healthcare workers. We are proud of the orders that we have produced in Michigan and welcome the opportunity to support in any way we can in the fight against COVID-19,” said TentCraft President Matt Bulloch.

The Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC) out of Detroit, which has already been working with local and state leaders to attract and train apparel businesses and workers, is also pivoting its training and manufacturing efforts from apparel to isolation gowns to address the shortage of PPE thanks in part to support from the PMBC COVID-19 Emergency Access and Retooling Grant. In doing so, ISAIC is able to hire and train more employees than expected, with its apprentices earning experience that will allow them to attract US retailers to Detroit once the outbreak ends.

Meanwhile, in Harbor Beach, the cartridge manufacturer National Filters, is purchasing equipment necessary to increase surgical mask production from 250 per day to 7,200 masks per hour along with 2,000 N95 respirators each hour as a result of collateral support from the state’s Capital Access program. Together, these businesses are turning hardships into opportunities to support both their workforce and frontline healthcare workers in the face of COVID-19.

In all corners of the state and across all industries, Michiganders are joining together to find innovative ways to use every resource available to support the health and safety of our state’s health care workers and their families during this unprecedented public health crisis. Because in Michigan, we know what it means to come together in the face of adversity; we know that we all must do our part, and we do whatever it takes to save lives and support our communities.

To read more about Michigan’s Arsenal of Innovation, click here.

To learn more about the COVID relief resources available for businesses and workers throughout the state, visit
To learn more about how MEDC can help your business, visit

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.