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80 U.P. small businesses get relief grant

MARQUETTE — Eighty small businesses from across the Upper Peninsula have been notified that they will receive funding allocations as part of the Michigan Small Business Relief Grant Program. The grants are to be used by the recipients for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.

The $10 million in grant funding was made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The 15-county region of the Upper Peninsula received $500,000 to be administered among businesses located throughout all counties. The average grant award was $6,250. A full list of grant recipients will be posted on the MEDC website, www.michiganbusiness.org, in the next two weeks upon execution of all grant agreements.

To be considered, a business was “eligible” if:

– The company is in an industry outlined in Executive Order 2020-9, or any subsequent Executive Order of similar intent (“EO”), or demonstrates it is otherwise affected by COVID-19 outbreak, that meets one or more of the following: provides support to impacted employees, is located in a downtown district or high impact corridor or has 50 employees or less, or is a company that provides services to companies outlined in the EO and requires additional employees to support companies or employees impacted by EO;

– The company has 50 employees or less;

– The company needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business; and

– The company is able to demonstrate an income loss as a result of the EO, or COVID-19.

InvestUp, the Upper Peninsula’s principal regional economic development organization was selected by the MEDC as the fiduciary for the $500,000 in grant funds intended to be disbursed through a competitive grant process with selections made by a committee of regionally focused partner organizations serving in a volunteer capacity.

“While we congratulate the recipients receiving allocations in this round of funding, we recognize this grant programming was wholly inadequate in comparison to the profound need,” stated Marty Fittante, CEO, InvestUP. Adding “this was demonstrated by the 797 applications that were received in what was a very competitive process with very limited funding. In addition, this significant number of applications only represents a fraction of those U.P. businesses that have been severely impacted by the ongoing crisis. We know that had sufficient money been allocated an overwhelming majority of applications would have been funded because of their compelling nature, but to do so the Upper Peninsula would have needed to receive several million dollars more in funding from the State.”

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