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More small business funding is good news for region

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had major impacts on small businesses throughout Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, as many have had to endure the difficulties involved with fundamentally changing their operations or even closing their doors during the pandemic.

While businesses throughout the state and nation are gradually reopening, it will take a great deal of time, effort and funding for small businesses to recover from this unprecedented situation.

Due to this, we were glad to hear the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announce the Michigan Strategic Fund on Tuesday approved a $100 million program that will provide grants to small businesses around the state that are working to recover from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

The funding was authorized by the Michigan Strategic Fund to be distributed across 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations covering all 83 counties in the state to provide a base amount of $3.5 million per organization for grants up to $20,000 each, according to a Journal article on the matter.

InvestUP, which, according to its website, is an economic development organization in the U.P. that is private sector driven with Michigan Economic Development Corporation support, was awarded over $4.5 million in funding, the article stated.

This funding can be used for much-needed working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses.

This program stems from the state of Michigan appropriating $100 million of federal Coronavirus Act, Relief and Economic Security Act funding to implement the Michigan Small Business Restart Program for Michigan small businesses that are reopening and have lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis.

It allows businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer employees located in Michigan that have not received a grant under the Michigan Small Business Relief Program and meet criteria related to demonstrating impact and need for funds to apply. The Michigan Small Business Restart Program application will be live starting Wednesday online at michiganbusiness.org/restart and run through Aug. 5.

We hope these funds will be distributed quickly and efficiently to the small local businesses that provide our area — and Michigan as a whole — with jobs, unique goods, critical services, economic opportunity, and strong and vibrant communities.

We also encourage our local, state and national leaders to work together and continue securing funding to help our small businesses not only recover from this unprecedented situation but to help build further resiliency and support for small businesses and small business owners during this uniquely challenging period.

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