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Ann Arbor Spark

March 31, 2020

Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund Provides Grants to Distressed Small Businesses

This article was updated on March 31. It now reflects recent changes to the fund, prompted by the generous donation from The Song Foundation. Visit Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund for additional details.


Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, Ann Arbor SPARK, the Greater Washtenaw Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the Entrepreneurship Center at Washtenaw Community College Collaborate to Provide Up to $5,000 to Businesses in Need

Ann Arbor SPARK, the Greater Washtenaw Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, and the Entrepreneurship Center at Washtenaw Community College have collaborated to create the Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund. This emergency fund provides working capital grants up to $5,000 to qualifying small businesses that have had financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund is specifically aimed at small businesses with low-income owners located in neighborhoods at high risk for displacement. The grants can be used to cover day-to-day operating expenses of the business, including payroll or losses due to COVID-19.

Washtenaw County businesses must meet specific criteria to qualify:

  • The business must have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19
  • The business owner’s annual household income must be less than $81,000
  • The business must have 50 employees or less
  • The business must have a physical presence in the Washtenaw County

“Just as Washtenaw County has been working hard to ensure residents have the latest public health information and access to essential services, we are committed to helping the small business community,” said Gregory Dill, Washtenaw County Administrator. “We are proud to have seeded this fund with $100,000 and work with our partners in a truly collaborative way to support small business during this unprecedented time.”

“Stepping up to help the small businesses in our community during this extraordinary time is not only the right responsibility to take on, it’s an important extension of our mission to support these businesses that create jobs and contribute to the vitality of our community,” said Paul Krutko, Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO. “Of note, we’re inviting those in our community looking to help small businesses to join us via a GoFundMe campaign.”

Ann Arbor SPARK is working with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to secure additional support for this initiative to help small businesses.

For individuals interested in contributing to the Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund, a GoFundMe has been established to collect donations to support the initiative. The goal of the GoFundMe is to raise an additional $50,000 in capital to deploy to these valuable community businesses.

Ann Arbor SPARKSBDC, and United Way of Washtenaw County are all maintaining online resources for businesses seeking additional information and resources.