Labor and Economic Opportunity
More than 100 small businesses around Michigan will utilize the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s MI Local Biz crowdfunding program throughout the month of June, MEDC announced today. MEDC will provide a total of $500,000 in matching grants to help the businesses as they work to recover from the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Michigan’s small businesses and traditional downtowns are a vital part of the state’s economy, and this program offers innovative access to capital for those businesses currently experiencing a loss in revenue directly related to the COVID-19 crisis,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “Helping our local businesses to successfully reopen lays a path for economic recovery in communities across the state, while offering patrons an opportunity to support businesses in a time of need.”
Launched in May, the MI Local Biz program builds on the MEDC’s successful Public Spaces Community Places (PSCP) program, in which residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. MI Local Biz allows for a small business to utilize donation-based crowdfunding through Michigan-based Patronicity’s existing platform and to receive a 1:1 matching grant from MEDC of up to $5,000. Funds must be used by the businesses for working capital needs in order to maintain ongoing operations during and through the COVID-19 crisis.
“I was absolutely blown away to be chosen for the MI Local Biz grant matching program. I know there are so many deserving businesses out there, and I do not take this amazing opportunity for granted. The support of the community rallying around small businesses like mine is inspiring, and it gives many people like myself a glimpse of hope as we make our way out of this unprecedented time,” said Cori Williams, owner of Beer City Barre in Grand Rapids. “The money we receive through this program will be used to cover our basic expenses that have been hard to meet with our loss in sales over the last few months – rent, software, utilities, instructor pay, just to name a few.”
Currently, there are businesses in 42 counties participating in the MI Local Biz program – in communities ranging from Houghton in the Upper Peninsula, to Benton Harbor in Southwest Michigan, to Spring Lake in West Michigan, to the Lake Michigan port city of Manistee, to Port Huron at the easternmost point of the state. Campaigns are continuing to go live and will be added to the page on a regular basis.
Examples of the types of businesses that are participating include restaurants/bars/coffee shops, cafes, salons/day spas, yoga studios, historic theaters, retail shops, art galleries, recreation businesses, and many other small businesses retailing products or providing services in a face-to-face physical location within the state of Michigan.
Individuals interested in learning more and supporting businesses in their communities can visit https://www.patronicity.com/milocalbiz. The page includes a list of all the businesses running campaigns through the program, and there is also a map showing the locations of them throughout the state.
“Partnering with the MEDC on this incredible opportunity to grow my business during these uncertain times is such an honor, and I am so grateful and amazed to have been selected for the MI Local Biz program. With any funds raised, I will be able to directly reinvest in other Michigan makers who provide products for the store by replenishing the store's inventory in preparation for shopping to resume across the state,” said Amy Polk, owner of Applecore General Store in the Les Cheneaux Islands of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. “Funds raised will also help cover the costs of establishing new health and safety measures at the store, including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer for customers who need them. I am so appreciative as well, for the MEDC's investment in Upper Peninsula businesses like ours.”
To learn more about MEDC’s COVID-19 response programs and the impact they are having on economic recovery efforts, visit michiganbusiness.org/covid19response. Other resources for economic reopening efforts as well as businesses across Michigan struggling with economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at michiganbusiness.org/covid19. The MEDC has also developed a FAQ for Michigan businesses and communities at michiganbusiness.org/covid19-faq.
For those who have questions about the state’s actions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.