Access to PPE with MEDC’s Natalie Chmiko

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As businesses reopen throughout Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is already anticipating the business community’s personal protection equipment (PPE) needs for employees and customers. Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President of Government Relations Brad Williams spoke with Natalie Chmiko, vice president of Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) and International Trade for MEDC in today’s Tele-Town Hall on the free PMBC COVID-19 Procurement Platform. This online portal was designed specifically to assist businesses in fulfilling their PPE needs as they prepare to reopen.

PMBC has supported 12 Michigan businesses in shifting to manufacture PPE with a total of $1 million in retooling grants, said Chmiko. The companies are expected to produce 5.6 million units of PPE and other critical supplies by the end of June.

Through the COVID-19 business to business platform, Chmiko’s team is working to connect in need of access to PPE and other materials with Michigan businesses that have the supplier capacity to meet their demand. Supplies include masks, face shields, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Michigan companies of all sizes can access the portal free of charge.

Currently, more than 3,000 Michigan businesses are registered through the program with procurement needs, and approximately 2,000 suppliers. One of the first businesses to enter the platform was Detroit City Distillery, noted Chmiko. The company was able to produce more than 21,000 gallons of hand sanitizer and distribute to health care institutions, municipalities, and other essential businesses across the region.

“Detroit City Distillery has plans to continue scaling production of hand sanitizer as more businesses begin to reopen and resume in person operations,” said Chmiko.

Streamlining the procurement process and therefore providing opportunities for Michigan businesses to grow is what PMBC is all about, said Chmiko. PMBC is pleased to do its part in supporting Michigan’s recovery effort as the state continues to reopen the economy this month, she added.

“Examples like these illustrate why Michigan is the Arsenal of innovation and as we look ahead to Economic Recovery across the state,” said Chmiko. “Initiatives like the PMBC COVID-19 Procurement Platform will be vital to supporting businesses across the state and ensuring we can restart our economic engine safely and successfully.”

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