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Area small businesses awarded more than $4 million in Michigan Small Business Survival Grants

Grants helped small businesses to retain 1,138 jobs in Genesee County

Today, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce announced that $4.12 million in Michigan Small Business Survival grants were awarded to 291 small businesses in the seven-county Region 6, comprised of Genesee, Shiawassee, Lapeer, Tuscola, Sanilac, St. Clair and Huron counties. Of those, 96 businesses are in Genesee County.

Each business received up to $15,000 in much-needed financial relief from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s (MEDC) Small Business Survival Grant Program. The grants helped businesses to retain 1,138 jobs in Genesee County and 2,879 jobs in all of Region 6.

“The Michigan Small Business Survival Program is providing significant support to small businesses helping to get them through this critical time and on the path to economic recovery,” said Josh Hundt, MEDC’s chief business development officer and executive vice president. “We are thankful for the efforts of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, who worked swiftly and diligently to deliver these vital financial resources within their region and create a path toward economic recovery for small businesses in Michigan.”

Announced in January, the Michigan Strategic Fund allocated $55 million to help meet the urgent need of Michigan small businesses that have experienced a significant financial hardship due to the recent COVID-19 emergency “gatherings and face mask orders.” The funds were allocated statewide to 15 nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) that were responsible for administering the program in their respective regions.

The Flint & Genesee Chamber is the EDO for Region 6.

“This was a great program that allowed us to assist some of the businesses most affected by the state-mandated COVID shutdown,” said Tyler Rossmaessler, director of economic development at the Flint & Genesee Chamber. “It’s clear from the number of inquiries and applications received that tremendous need exists in our business community, as it recovers from the pandemic’s economic impact.”

The Flint & Genesee Chamber received nearly 1,600 applications from small businesses, which were  scored based on the following criteria:

  • Whether the business was in a priority industry;
  • Annual gross revenue loss;
  • Years in operation; and,
  • Total number of employees on Nov. 17, 2020

For the Survival Grant program, priority industries are defined as: food service establishments (i.e., restaurants and bars, coffee, bakeries, catering, breweries, distilleries, wineries, tea shops, banquet facilities and other food and beverage service providers); exercise facilities (i.e., such as gyms, studios, pool facilities, ice skating rinks, organized sports); and recreational facilities and places of public amusement (i.e., bowling centers, arcades, bingo halls).

The Genesee County applications were evaluated and scored, and grantees selected by an eight-member committee of business and community leaders. (Chamber staff were not committee members.) In addition, each county in Region 6 had its own local judging committee.

To see the full list of businesses that received Survival grants, visit

Grants were awarded on a competitive basis. To be eligible for funding under the MEDC program, a small business had to be a for-profit or nonprofit company and meet all criteria below.

  • Had 1 to 100 employees (including full-time, part-time and owner/employees) on a world-wide basis on November 17, 2020.
  • In an industry that demonstrates it is affected by the state’s 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 gatherings and face mask order.
  • 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.

Each local EDO could also apply additional eligibility criteria.