Helping Michigan’s Local Communities Bounce Back
May 27, 2020
- The $1.5-million fund supporting Michigan’s small businesses
- ForkoverFunds initiative connects donors with service workers in need
- What resources are available for starting your own business
Paychecks everywhere are doing what they can to help millions of small businesses that are on the brink of closure, but we simply can’t place enough to-go orders to save all of Main Street America. As COVID-19 continues to threaten supply chains across the US, we run the risk of losing local businesses to major retailers or restaurant chains who can afford to weather the pandemic.
As much as we love Applebees’ wings and Amazon prime delivery, we don’t want them to be our only options if it means losing local, community-supporting jobs. If you’ve been on lockdown and you find yourself with a little more savings and a lot more desire to help, consider putting your extra cash to work by investing in local businesses, helping those most in need, or even starting a business of your own.
First, what is Michigan doing for small businesses?
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (along with a group called Michigan Women Forward) has created the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund, which will distribute grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 as well as microloans ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and the fund totals $1.5 million.
The state has also created a system for businesses to get the PPE each needs to reopen (eventually, safely). The PMBC COVID-19 Procurement Platform allows business owners to submit whether they can be listed in a database of PPE suppliers or if they need access to the database to find a local supplier. When a local business needs to reopen and another local business can support that reopening, it’s a win, win for Michigan.
Ways you can help those in need
While federal and state dollars are helping provide businesses with grants, taxpayers are coming together to help businesses from the ground up. Whether ordering gift cards from your favorite restaurants or donating directly to charity, there are several ways we can all help local workers in need. Forkover funds connects people “looking to fork over some funds to service industry workers currently impacted by COVID-19.” There’s the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program that provides $150 - $500 to bartenders in need. And the Artisan Grain Collaborative’s "Neighbor Loaves" initiative allows you to send a "neighbor loaf" of bread from a local baker to an organization focused on feeding communities.
What resources are available if you want to start your own business?
If you’re looking to do even more and start your own business so we aren’t left with an imbalance of big box retailers, there are many resources available to help you get started in Michigan. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has a great FAQ for those who are just getting started. Another resource could be the Michigan Small Business Development Center’s guide to starting and operating a small business.
The bottom line
If you’re one of the fortunate Americans who haven’t lost your job and have actually been saving money these past couple months, now is a good time to invest in local businesses or consider starting your own business to help the local economy recover.