News from Sarah Lucas and Lake Superior Community Partnership, sharing the U.P. Perspective:
A critical goal in economic development is ensuring that businesses have the capital that they need to get started and grow. Understanding that funding can sometimes be difficult to access, the LSCP encourages businesses to take advantage of the opportunities available. These opportunities include the grants and loans available this month to businesses who are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, new businesses, and start-ups, or those that could grow with a little additional support.
This month, the State of Michigan is accepting applications for a new grant program, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, that provides funding to businesses hard-hit by the pandemic. $409 million will be available statewide through the Michigan Department of Treasury’s new Afflicted Business Relief Grant program, which opened March 1 and is accepting applications through March 31. The program is intended to help businesses that suffered financial hardship due to COVID, like entertainment businesses, gyms and fitness centers, hotels, food service, salons and other personal services, and nurseries. Businesses may receive a percentage of the losses in total state sales through a grant, with the total amount awarded to each business dependent on how many businesses apply for funding.
It’s not just hard-hit businesses that have access to funding support: grant and loan programs are available, both locally and statewide, for both specific business needs and more general support. For food-based businesses, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is supporting agricultural and food processing activities through their Value-Added and Regional Food Systems grant program. Applications will be accepted through March 24; grants will help businesses invest in technology and equipment, feasibility studies, healthy food access, regional food systems, and urban agriculture.
And, in Marquette County, businesses of all kinds and at all stages of growth can apply for loans through the Marquette County Economic Development Corporation’s (EDC) revolving loan programs. Administered by the LSCP, these funds can help to support business operations, start-ups, and expansions. Last year the EDC had $453,300 loaned out to local businesses for expansions, new facilities or equipment, start-up costs, and more are available. Interested businesses can apply year-round by contacting the LSCP, which acts as the “front door” for applications and processing of these loans.
In addition to open programs and ongoing loan opportunities, there’s additional good news on previous grants programs: MDARD recently announced decisions on its annual Rural Development Fund grants, which support both business and community improvements. In Marquette County, the City of Ishpeming, Jilbert’s Dairy, and Big Bay/Powell Township received funding for projects that will expand and support our region’s food economy and recreation opportunities.
For any of these resources, the LSCP is here to help – with questions about whether your business qualifies, help with application processes, and provide support for grant requests. Visit our COVID resources page on Marquette.org, or contact staff with questions or for assistance.
Helping businesses with their financial needs is a core service of the LSCP, and we’re thrilled every time we’re able to help one of our local businesses or partners meet their financial goals…so congratulations to MDARD’s grant recipients, and to businesses looking for more help and financial support, know that we’re here for you.