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Ann Arbor Spark

April 6, 2020

Michigan Small Business Relief Program

Last Updated:
April 13, 2020
7:00 p.m.

This is an unprecedented time that we are all facing and navigating together. We recognize there is an immense need for support to help companies weather the economic storm created by the COVID-19 crisis.

The demand for funding through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program was overwhelming. The need far exceeded the funds available.

More than 1,500 companies in Washtenaw and Livingston counties applied for the limited amount of funding available. Nearly $15 million in need was requested, but we only had $327,000 in grant funding to disperse in Washtenaw County and only $168,000 in Livingston County.

The review panel for Washtenaw County applicants was comprised of representatives from Washtenaw County’s Racial Equity Office, the Washtenaw Office of Community & Economic Development, Washtenaw Community College, and Ann Arbor SPARK.

In Livingston County, the review panel was comprised of representatives from the Economic Development Council for Livingston County, Ann Arbor SPARK, and the Livingston County Convention and Visitors Bureau.  

With guidance from the Small Business Development Center, the review panels for both counties used the following criteria to determine who received funding:

  • Longevity of a business’s operations
  • Number of employees impacted
  • COVID-related business losses, where available resources could make an impact
  • Providing resources across our region

Additional Resources

We encourage all businesses to pursue all options available to them to help in this time of need. Please review our COVID-19 related business resources page, which we are updating regularly.

Webinars and Virtual Events

Ann Arbor SPARK, known for its quality programming, continues to support entrepreneurs and businesses during the COVID-19 era by pivoting from in-person events to online webinars and training sessions.

Additional support services are available to small businesses. Specifically, we encourage small businesses to access resources available through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA recently expanded its loan programs under the federal CARES Act.

Program Recipients from the Greater Ann Arbor Region

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process?

Applications for this program can be submitted here no later than April 4, 2020. A Washtenaw committee (staff from Ann Arbor SPARK, WCC’s Entrepreneurship Center, Washtenaw County’s Office of Community and Economic Development, and advisory review from the Small Business Development Center) and a Livingston committee (staff from Ann Arbor SPARK, LCCVB Director, EDCLC Board chairman, and advisory review from the SBDC) will review the applicants from each county to ensure eligibility and availability of funds. Award decisions will be communicated to applicants and, if approved, a grant agreement will be signed and funds will be distributed through electronic funds transfer. Funding is limited and submitting an application does not guarantee funding.

Requests for loans are reviewed by the committee and sent to MEDC directly for additional review and determine whether a loan can be made available.

How much funding is available?

Grants of up to $10,000 per business are available. The State of Michigan has provided about $327,000 in total funding to companies in Washtenaw County, and about $168,000 in total funding to companies in Livingston County. Ann Arbor SPARK was awarded $900,000 from the state to fund qualified businesses in the greater Ann Arbor region affected by COVID.

The region is compromised of Washtenaw, Livingston, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, and Monroe counties. As our peer organizations have done with the funding they received from the state to disperse to businesses, Ann Arbor SPARK divided the $900,000 between these counties in our region based on population. Ann Arbor SPARK is responsible only for funds allocated to Washtenaw and Livingston counties..

Can I apply for a loan through this application?

Yes, this application is the starting point of a loan application, which is handled directly by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) after a review by the committee listed above. Loans between $50,000 and $200,000 are available through this application but are administered directly by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Applicants must have fewer than 100 employees and should demonstrate why financing is not available, including through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Can I receive both a loan and a grant through this application?

No. Applicants are allowed either grant or loan support, not both.

Is this grant program related to the Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund? Can I apply to both?

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program is separate from the Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund, however, the intention is to provide grant dollars to as many impacted businesses as possible. Receiving funding through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program may affect funding availability in the Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund.

Where can I learn about more funding opportunities?

Click here for an updated list of local, state and federal funding options for companies related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Is this program related to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) loan program? Or the Federal CARES Act?

This program is not related to either program. Information on the SBA’s COVID-19 resources can be found here.


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