Start Garden hands out $300K to struggling entrepreneurs


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Start Garden says it has sent grants to 68 Kent County entrepreneurs whose businesses are threatened by coronavirus closures.

Checks went out last week and recipients were notified via video chat Tuesday of their wins.

“When they said on the call they were going to be supporting us, I mean, just this wave of relief washed over me,” Pack Elephant founder Winsome Kirton told News 8 Wednesday. “I could just not be more thankful and appreciative.”

Start Garden, an organization that backs West Michigan startups, announced early this month it was making more than $300,000 available to entrepreneurs. The money wasn’t meant to help cover their business expenses, but rather to support themselves and their families while they figure out how to keep their businesses afloat.

Organizers sorted through 430 applications, 70% of which were asking for $10,000 or less.

“When their April 1 bills came due, it was a serious blow. We knew they needed money before May 1, so we compressed what’s normally six months of work into three weeks,” Jorge Gonzalez, Start Garden co-director, said a statement. “With so many requests, we wished we could do more. We’re confident we did the best we could as fast as possible.”

The majority of the recipients, 88%, have a household income of less than $60,000. Thirty-five percent are African American, 32% are white, a quarter are Hispanic, 4% are Asian and 3% identified as another race.

The 100 Comeback Fund recipients include:

  • 5F Ventures, LLC
  • AgHelp
  • Any Colour You Like Treats LLC
  • Arebelo & Associates
  • Art Caribbean Fusion Cuisine
  • Aztech
  • Bare All LLC
  • BattleGR
  • Blackbird RSVP
  • Break Room Therapy
  • Bryan Esler Photo
  • Chez Olga LLC
  • CNN Cleaning, LLC
  • Daddy’s Dough Cookies
  • Dime & Regal
  • Edgerow Property Management
  • El Globo Restaurant
  • El Granjero Mexican Grill
  • Emonae Korean BBQ
  • EverythingAB
  • Flip Dog Yoga
  • Germination Labs
  • Grand Rapids Sport & Social Club
  • Graped Out
  • Guelaguetza Designs
  • Irie Kitchen
  • Jose Abreu Graphic Studio, antiguamente Koren Graphic Design*
  • KOKI
  • La Casa del Pollo Loco
  • Lawnbot
  • Life Addicts Studio
  • Lindo Mexico Restaurante Mexicano
  • Little Space Studio
  • Littlebird, That Earlybird, Kingfisher
  • Love’s Ice Cream & Chocolate
  • Luxe Artisan Preserves
  • Matt Everitt Productions
  • Michigan Clinical & Therapeutic Massage
  • Michigan House Creative
  • Mindset Meals
  • Mosbys Popcorn
  • Muse GR
  • New Valley Landscape LLC
  • Noble Strong Training LLC
  • Old World Olive Co.
  • Pack Elephant
  • PhotoUp
  • Polished Nail Bar & Spa
  • Pottery Lane
  • Rising Grinds Cafe
  • Rogers Wealth Management Services, LLC
  • RYE Venue Management LLC DBA The Lit GR
  • SlothWerks LLC
  • Soldadera Coffee LLC
  • Sparkle All The Time
  • Supreme Focus Ent (Dj Composition)
  • Sympl.
  • Tacos el Cunado
  • The Comedy Project
  • The G-1:27 Collection
  • The Hot Spot Metal Studio
  • The Wisdom Center LLC
  • United Freedom Painting LLC
  • VIVE MICHIGAN Magazine
  • Wallway Technologies & Women in Tech with Ariana Podcast
  • Wear Your Curls
  • Wimage, LLC
  • Wormies

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