LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Live entertainment venues and small businesses struggling to survive during the pandemic will get a shot at $58.5 million in state support starting next week.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved creating the $55 million Michigan Small Business Survival and $3.5 million Stages Survival grant programs Thursday.


Under the Michigan Small Business Survival Program, retailers can get up to $20,000 if they have had to close or $15,000 if they have had to partially shut down because of state pandemic orders. The funding can be used to help cover payroll, mortgage or utility expenses.

To be eligible, a business must have between one and 100 employees, be affected by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services gatherings and face mask order, need working capital to pay its business expense and show it has lost income, among other requirements.

Those who were previously granted funding through the Small Business Relief and Small Business Restart grant programs are eligible to apply if they meet all the other requirements.

Small businesses can submit their applications to the survival program starting at 9 a.m. Jan. 19. All applications are due by noon Jan. 22.


The application process will not be first come, first served like the $10 million Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Program, which was drained within minutes last month.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Mark Burton said that’s because there was urgency to get that first injection of funding to struggling businesses.

“In December, we wanted to move money into the hands of small business owners as quickly as possible,” he explained, adding that the response was “enormous.”

Burton said the application window is also short because the state is well aware the need for support is far greater than what the programs can give.

The MSF plans to distribute the small business relief funds to the 15 local economic development organizations statewide, which will judge each application based on their own set of criteria. It’s up to each economic group whether to award the fully requested amount or a partial grant to spread out relief to more businesses.

The MEDC says each economic development organization will weigh the need of each business using a transparent scoring system that will be posted publicly.

The MEDC expects the small business funding to be distributed beginning as early as this month, with all grants handed out by Feb. 28. For more information, visit


The Stages Survival grant program will begin accepting applications at 9 a.m. Jan. 21 with a deadline of noon Jan. 28. Eligible venues can get up to $40,000 for payroll, rent, mortgage, utility and reopening costs.

The program is aimed at smaller Michigan venues, with funding only available to places that employ fewer than 30 full-time employees, were in business before the pandemic started, show a significant revenue loss and are not owned or operated in more than two states or outside the country, among other restrictions.

Michigan Independent Venue and Promoter Association will handle reviewing applications and granting funding by Feb. 28.

Venues can only tap into one of the two state grant programs. For more information, visit