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Ann Arbor Spark

July 23, 2020

Michigan Small Business Restart Program Process and FAQs

Updated September 2, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

The process for the Michigan Small Business Restart grant has concluded. Grant recipients have been notified.

Questions? Send an email to businessdevelopment@annarborusa.org.

Notification and Disbursement Timeline

  • Application selection completed by August 30, 2020
  • Notification to Awardees: September 1, 2020
  • Disbursement of Awards: September 1 – October 30, 2020
  • The MEDC and local EDOs will announce the awardees no later than September 30, 2020

Application Review Overview

Each county in the Greater Ann Arbor Region (Monroe, Lenawee, Jackson, Hillsdale, Livingston, and Washtenaw) has developed a local review committee. Learn More

Washtenaw County Committee
  • Ann Arbor SPARK
  • Washtenaw Community College Entrepreneurship Center
  • Washtenaw County’s Office of Community and Economic Development
  • Washtenaw County’s Racial Equity Office
  • NewFoundry CEO
  • Advisory review from the Small Business Development Center
Livingston County Committee
  • Ann Arbor SPARK
  • Livingston County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director
  • Economic Development Council of Livingston County Board Chairman
  • Lake Trust Credit Union
  • Advisory review from the Small Business Development Center

Application Review Process

Committees will review applicants from each county to ensure eligibility and availability of funds. Grants will be reviewed based on a number of factors, including:

  • Number of employees impacted
  • Wages
  • Impact of COVID-19 on the business
  • Geographic diversity
  • Economic impact of COVID-19 on the business location
  • Focus on supporting minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses

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.

Applicant Eligibility

  • Have 50 employees or less;
  • Be in an industry that has demonstrated it has been affected by the COVID-19 emergency;
  • Demonstrate the incurred income loss as a result of the COVID-19 emergency; and
  • Demonstrate the need for working capital for eligible expenses (see below for eligible expenses).

Frequently Asked Questions

The Restart grant program guidelines required 30 percent of the funding to be awarded to minorities, women, and veterans. How were these groups represented in the grant awards in Washtenaw and Livingston counties?

In Washtenaw County, 50 percent of the awards granted were to minority-owned businesses, 60.4 percent were to woman-owned businesses, and 6.4 percent were to veteran-owned businesses. In Livingston County, 20.2 percent of the awards granted were to minority-owned businesses, 58.1 percent were to woman-owned businesses, and 9.1 percent were to veteran-owned businesses.

How can funds be used?

Grant funds must be used for expenditures incurred by the eligible business between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 that meet the following criteria:

  • Are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 (such as resulting from employment or business interruptions due to COVID-19);
  • Used for its working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or costs related to reopening the eligible business or eligible nonprofit.

How can an applicant confirm the application submission was successful?

Each applicant will receive an email confirmation after their successful submission.

How is the digital signature added to the Applicant Certification Form?

Docusign on the PDF automatically saves the signature to the pdf before uploading. Some folks have found success by creating their Docusign account first at www.docusign.com/.

Can you save progress made on the application to return later?

No, you must submit the application for it to save progress, after submitting, you may go back in and edit the submission.

How is diversity defined?

  • Minority-Owned means, as applied to an otherwise Eligible Business, that the Eligible Business is at least fifty-one percent (51%) directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more, or any combination of; Black or African Americans; Hispanic Americans; Native Americans (Alaska natives, native Hawaiians, or enrolled members of a federally or State recognized Indian tribe); Asian Americans; Arab or Middle Eastern Americans.
  • Woman-Owned means that the Eligible Business is at least fifty-one percent (51%) directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women in addition to meeting all other eligibility requirements.
  • Veteran-Owned means that the Eligible Business is at least fifty-one percent (51%) directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more veterans of any military branch of the United States in addition to meeting all other eligibility requirements.

What was SPARK’s role in the Restart grant program?

At the state’s request, Ann Arbor SPARK worked with the review committee to evaluate all of the grant applications based on the state’s scoring rubric to determine award eligibility. Ann Arbor SPARK also handled the administration around fund distribution. We are grateful to our state and local partners for their support in helping support businesses in our community.

The MEDC website states that you were given $8.5 million to distribute, so why does your letter to those who received/ did not receive funding state you were only given $2.9 million?

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. provided Ann Arbor SPARK Restart grant funding to disperse in our region totaling $8.5M. As you see on the MEDC website the funding allocated to Ann Arbor SPARK includes counties we don’t serve directly (Lenawee, Jackson, Hillsdale, and Monroe). The state considers these counties part of our region, however, those counties each have their own economic development organization, i.e. their own version of Ann Arbor SPARK, to whom a share of the funding was provided for those organizations to disperse in their localities. 

When will I be notified of award decisions?

Each of our community partners will be notifying applicants, based on the location of the business.

  • Washtenaw County: Applicants were notified on Tuesday, September 1.
  • Monroe County: Letters notifying applicants of a decision will be mailed by Friday, September 4.
  • Livingston County: Applicants were notified on Tuesday, September 1.
  • Jackson County: Applicants were notified on Friday, August 28.
  • Lenawee County: Letters notifying applicants of a decision will be mailed by Thursday, September 5.
  • Hillsdale County: Applicants were notified on Friday, August 28.

Where can I find a list of the Restart grant recipients?

A list of Washtenaw and Livingston counties’ grant recipients is available here.