Michigan offers 3 grants for businesses, employees, venues hurt by pandemic

The state of Michigan is offering three grants available for small businesses, venues, and employees who have been hurt by the nearly year-long pandemic. The only catch is that these grants have a short window to apply.

The grants ranged from $1,650 for individuals to up to $20,000 for small businesses and as much as $40,000 for entertainment venues. Here's what you need to know about each of the grants including deadlines and how to apply:

Michigan Small Business Survival Grant
Deadline: Noon Friday, Jan. 22 

This program offers up to $20,000 grants for temporarily closed businesses, $15,000 for those partially closed. The state of Michigan allocated $55 million statewide for Michigan Small Business Survival Grants to support the urgent needs of Michigan small businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus and the Gatherings and Face Mask Order. The funding for this program is made possible through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. 

Eligibility criteria: 
  • Is a small business or nonprofit with 1-100 employees on a worldwide basis on Nov. 17, 2020. 
  • Is in an industry that demonstrates it is affected by the Gatherings and Face Mask Order.
  • Needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses.
  • Demonstrates an income loss as a result of the order as determined by the economic development organization in which an eligible business is located.
  • Is not a live music and entertainment venue that is eligible for funds under Section 401 of Public Act 257 of 2020: Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program.

Nearly $2 million has been set aside for small businesses in Allegan and Ottawa counties. Lakeshore Advantage is administering the grant for this region. For specifics on criteria and timeline in Allegan and Ottawa counties, click here. The Right Place is administering the grant in all other West Michigan counties. To see information for other West Michigan counties, click here.

Employee Assistance Grant Program
Deadline: Monday, Jan. 25 

This program offers one-time grants of up to $1,650. The grant is designed to help those whose employment at entertainment venues, recreational venues, and restaurants has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by putting dollars in the pockets of Michiganders who work in hospitality, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services sectors, as well as the gym and fitness sectors. Applications will be processed through February. Payments will be issued in March.  

Along the Lakeshore, Herrick District Library and Howard Miller Public Library have computers available, and the Community Action House and Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates are providing free bilingual support on-site to help in navigating the Employee Assistance Grant Program application. Details here.

Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program
Grant opens at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. Deadline: Noon Thursday, Jan. 28.

This program will provide a total of $3.5 million in one-time grants of up to $40,000 to eligible entertainment and live music venues throughout Michigan that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency declarations.

Businesses or organizations that are eligible to apply for this grant must be live music and entertainment venues that produce and/or present live, disciplined-based performance experiences, to promote and provide connections through creative expression by sharing creative experiences, “expressing our own creativity or connecting us with others and ourselves,” according to the website.

Venues must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:
  • Be located in the state of Michigan
  • Produce and/or present live, disciplined-based performance experiences.
  • Demonstrate at least 33% of 2019 gross revenues are from the sale of tickets for live music or entertainment events OR receive at least 70% of its earned revenue through cover charges or ticket sales, production fees or production reimbursements, nonprofit educational initiatives, or the sale of event beverages, food, or merchandise.
  • Demonstrate that second-quarter revenues from April 1-June 30, 2020, were not greater than 10% of second-quarter revenue from April 1-June 30, 2019.
  • Employ fewer than 30 full-time employees.
  • Existed prior to Feb. 29, 2020.
  • Not owned and operated in more than two states.
  • Not owned and operated with offices in more than one country.
  • SIGMA Registration.

At the time of application, the applicant will be required to have completed registration in the state of Michigan State Integrated Governmental Management Applications (SIGMA) Vendor Self-Service (VSS) website, and the applicant will need to provide its registration number in the application. 

The applicant also will be required to affirm that it has also entered all required banking information and is registered to receive electronic funds transfer (EFT) payments. 

Assistance is available to complete the SIGMA Application at the state of Michigan VSS (SOM VSS) Support Center at SIGMAVendor@michigan.gov or 1-888-734-9749. All program grant funds will be issued only via EFT.

Venues eligible for the Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program are not eligible to apply for a Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program.

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.