GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan nonprofit The Right Place, Inc., is one of 15 economic development organizations tapped to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and received the third-highest allocation from the state to accomplish that goal.
The application period for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Small Business Restart Program opened last week.
Three local organizations, Lakeshore Advantage, The Right Place and Southwest Michigan First, received funding to be distributed as grants to facilitate the program.
“When making the decisions of how much to put into each area, we focused on the population, the amount of small businesses, the impact COVID has had on those small businesses and also the number of businesses located in disadvantaged areas,” MEDC Chief Business Development Officer and Executive Vice President Josh Hundt told News 8.
Lakeshore Advantage received $3.5 million and Southwest Michigan First more than $7.5 million. The Right Place received more than $9.5 million.
That allocation is the third-highest amount appropriated by the MEDC as part of a $100 million investment in the restart program, which was drawn from federal CARES Act funding.
Oakland County and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation received the top two appropriations, more than $11 million and more than $15.5 million respectively.
Each business can apply for up to $20,000. The MEDC is requiring at least 30 percent of the funds awarded go to women-owned, minority-owned or veteran-owned eligible businesses.
“These funds will be critical to supporting these small businesses and making sure that, hopefully, we can continue the vibrancy that we’ve had here in West Michigan and support those small businesses as we move forward,” The Right Place Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Tim Mroz told News 8.
The organization created an independent committee to review applications and is working with the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses to promote the program.
The Right Place works with Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Osceola counties, so the grants will go to businesses in those areas.
“So far in West Michigan, we’ve already received about 1,190 applications,” Mroz shared Tuesday. “In Kent County alone it’s about 730.”
The MEDC anticipates more than 5,000 business will benefit from the program statewide. Businesses have through Aug. 5 to apply.
Mroz said recipients will be selected by the end of August.
Additional information on the application process, as well as eligibility can be found on the MEDC’s website, MichiganBusiness.org.