The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce today announced that 52 small businesses located in Flint and Genesee County were awarded $5,000 grants each from the Michigan Small Business Relief Program to help ease some of the financial damage caused by the COVID-19 virus.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), which funds the program, allotted Genesee County $260,000 for the grants. The Flint & Genesee Chamber, which serves as the county’s economic development organization (EDO), was then charged with administering the grant program locally.
The Flint & Genesee small business grant recipients cover a range of industry sectors, including construction, childcare, food and beverage, retail, professional services, manufacturing, automotive repair and recreation.
“As you might expect, there was significant interest in the grant program. In fact, we received nearly 1,500 applications once the program was announced last week,” said Chamber CEO Tim Herman.
He added: “We were given a very compressed timeline by the MEDC in which to identify prospective grantees and distribute the funds, and we know that was difficult. We also recognize that this was an extremely difficult time for businesses everywhere, so the goal was to get funds to businesses, fast.”
A county panel of eight people reviewed and scored all the grant applications. The highest scoring applicants were compiled and further evaluated, and then recommended to the I-69 Thumb Region’s board of county EDOs. The regional board, comprised of representatives from Genesee, Shiawassee, Lapeer, Tuscola, Sanilac, Huron and St. Clair counties, made the final decisions.
The MEDC-funded program is part of a pool of $20 million in grants and loans earmarked to provide economic assistance to Michigan’s small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
While grants have been awarded, the loan portion is still being processed, said Tyler Rossmaessler, director of economic development at the Flint & Genesee Chamber.
“In the meantime, there are additional resources available from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help small businesses,” Rossmaessler said. “This includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.”
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan that provides a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help them overcome the temporary loss of revenue. In addition, small business owners may apply for an EIDL advance of up to $10,000. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and the loan advance will not have to be repaid.
Keep up with the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 resources for businesses at flintandgenesee.org/coronavirus-resources-for-employers-and-businesses.