Detroit Regional Chamber > Small Business > Michigan Small Businesses Receive Lifeline Through Comprehensive Support Initiative

Michigan Small Businesses Receive Lifeline Through Comprehensive Support Initiative

June 20, 2024

Michigan Chronicle
Ebony JJ Curry

June 17, 2024

Michigan’s small businesses, still grappling with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, are being offered a lifeline through a comprehensive initiative of grants, courses, and other forms of support. The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) Foundation has launched the Small Business Support Hub Grant Program aimed at helping Michigan entrepreneurs start and grow their companies. This initiative targets owners of first- and second-stage businesses, providing them access to a wide range of resources designed to enhance business growth, stability, and efficiency.

The program is robust, offering free programming, courses, events, and more. Entrepreneurs will find a wealth of knowledge and support through this initiative. Marketing strategies, growth management, and development are central to the program, with specialized courses in financial literacy, accounting, human resources, and IT. The inclusion of CEO roundtables and mentorship opportunities ensures that business owners receive the guidance they need from experienced leaders. Capital development, compliance assistance, and various certification and licensure opportunities round out the comprehensive support package.

A significant financial component of the program includes more than $426,000 in grant funds, with individual businesses eligible to receive up to $5,000. The funding for this program is provided in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC). Qualifying business owners must utilize the provided resources within six months prior to applying for a grant. This ensures that the resources are being used effectively to prepare businesses for sustainable growth. The SBAM Foundation will begin distributing these grants in the fall and continue through February 2026. Businesses not selected in the initial round will have their applications retained for future consideration, ensuring multiple opportunities for support.

The design of the program came after careful research into the needs of first- and second-stage business owners. It is open to both SBAM-member businesses and non-members, expanding its reach and inclusivity. SBAM Foundation Executive Director David Rhoa emphasized the program’s importance in aiding businesses to recover from the pandemic’s long-term impacts. Rhoa expressed pride in being able to offer this support, noting that it provides Michigan’s small businesses with the crucial resources needed for sustainable success.

The creation of the Small Business Support Hubs aligns with the MEDC’s broader efforts. Last June, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved the establishment of these hubs to invest in regional operations, offering a range of business support services and direct funding to small businesses heavily affected by the pandemic. A significant $75 million from the American Rescue Plan Act has been allocated for the hubs’ formation. Detroit, in particular, will benefit from 25 Small Business Support Hubs, made possible by a $3.4 million grant from the MEDC, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The concept for the Small Business Support Hubs emerged in 2021 as part of a series of pandemic relief efforts under Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI New Economy Plan. The hubs are a critical component of this broader strategy, providing localized support tailored to the specific needs of communities and businesses.

The SBAM Foundation, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the Small Business Association of Michigan, plays a pivotal role in this initiative. Its mission to provide training and education on entrepreneurship extends to disadvantaged individuals and economically challenged communities. This ensures that the benefits of the Small Business Support Hub Grant Program are accessible to a wide range of business owners, fostering inclusivity and equitable economic development.

In conclusion, the SBAM Foundation’s Small Business Support Hub Grant Program represents a significant step forward for Michigan’s small businesses still recovering from the pandemic. By offering comprehensive support through grants, courses, and other resources, the program aims to empower entrepreneurs, ensuring they have the tools needed for growth and success. This initiative not only addresses immediate needs but also lays the groundwork for a more resilient and thriving small business community in Michigan.