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Over 34,000 small businesses applied for Michigan "survival" grants

closed sign on a storefront door
Katie Raymond
Michigan Radio
Mroz says service-sector businesses, like restaurants, retail and hospitality seem to be struggling most.

More than 34,000 small businesses are waiting to see if they’ll get a share of $55 million in state grants.

The Michigan Small Business Survival Grant program is meant to aid businesses impacted by restrictions on gatherings and indoor businesses for the sake of public health during the pandemic. A business could get a maximum grant of $15,000 if it has been partially closed or $20,000 if it is fully closed in accordance with state coronavirus restrictions.

Tim Mroz is Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for The Right Place, one of 15 regional economic development organizations administering the grant program across the state.

“For our 11 county region, which The Right Place will be administering the grant for, there were a total of 3,137 seven total applications that came through,” Mroz said.

Mroz says 2,257 of those applications came from Kent County. Of those, he expects a few hundred businesses will get grants. He says the independent review board evaluating Kent County grant applications decided on a strategy of awarding fewer, larger grants in the hopes it would mean more to winning businesses.

“We could give every business a thousand dollars, or we could award fewer grants and have them be a higher impact of $15,000,” Mroz said. “The review committee decided that was the route we wanted to take.”

Mroz says there’s an independent review board awarding grants and evaluating applications for each of the 11 counties The Right Place covers.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) spokesperson Otie McKinley says, statewide, 34,487 applications were submitted for the program by last Friday’s deadline.  

According to MEDC information about the grant program online, grant winners should expect to have their award in their bank accounts between the end of this week and the end of February.

Another, smaller $3.5 million grant program for entertainment venues is accepting applications until noon on Thursday, January 28. According to the MEDC, grant applications for the Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program will be reviewed and approved by the Michigan Independent Venue and Promoter Association by the end of February. Entertainment venues can qualify for a one-time grant of up to $40,000. There’s $3.5 million in grant funding available.

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Tyler Scott is the weekend afternoon host at Michigan Radio, though you can often hear him filling in at other times during the week. Tyler started in radio at age 18, as a board operator at WMLM 1520AM in Alma, Michigan, where he later became host of The Morning Show.
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