Bay Future expands its reach as it focuses on helping Bay City businesses recover from COVID-19

More than 200 Bay County small businesses have applied for the Michigan Small Business Survival Grant. The regional economic development group Bay Future Inc. now has the difficult task of reviewing the applications and granting out the money.

“Receiving around 220 applications really speaks to the needs of small businesses here,” says Bay Future Investor Relations & Marketing Manager Megan Manning.

The State of Michigan will provide $55 million in Survival Grants to small businesses statewide. Nearly $650,000 of that is reserved for small businesses in Bay County.

Bay Future Inc. regularly sends information about grants, loans, and other opportunities to businesses throughout the community. In 2020, the Tex-Mex Grille worked with Bay Future.The Survival Grants are intended for businesses affected by the COVID-19 restrictions recently lifted on Feb. 1. Those businesses include restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and more.

“We have until Feb, 28th to review and decide how to disperse the funds,” Manning says. “But we want to get this money in the hands of small businesses as soon as we can and they’ll have it before the end of the month.”

Bay Future Inc. has joined regional partners and stakeholders in helping Bay County recover to a pre-pandemic economy.

They’ve done so in a myriad of ways, whether it’s administering state grants or simply sharing information about them, helping small businesses understand the Employee Retention Tax Credit Program or developing RECOVER Bay County.

Bay Future Inc. was also a partner on the Buy BC and Buy Local Buy BC gift card stimulus programs.

“We’ve kind of expanded our reach since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Where we’d usually be working in sectors like manufacturing and agriculture and technology, now we’re also working with smaller businesses like the service industry, retailers, coffee shops, bars,” Manning says.

Bay Future Inc. maintains a list of businesses to send news about grants, loans, and other opportunities. Bay Future routinely share such information on its Facebook page too.

“Small businesses comprise 80% of Bay County’s economy and 80% of our jobs,” Manning says. “Keeping those businesses open is critical.”

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