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Michigan Small Business Restart Program

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved a $100 million program that will provide grants to Michigan small businesses working to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 virus, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced. Called the Michigan Small Business Restart Program, it will support Michigan’s small businesses that are reopening and have experienced a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Governor Gretchen Whitmer said, “We can further our economic recovery in Michigan by putting federal dollars through the CARES Act to work for the people and businesses across our state through efforts like these grants.”

Partnering Local Economic Development Organizations

The MSF authorized distribution of the funding across 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties in the state; locally, Southwest Michigan First was allocated $7,545,455 to distribute to qualifying small businesses in the seven-county region it serves. At least 30 percent of the funds awarded under the program must be provided to woman-owned, minority-owned, or veteran-owned eligible businesses.

Grant Eligibility and Scoring Criteria

To qualify for grant support, businesses must meet the following criteria, based on statutory requirements for the program:

  • Has 50 employees or less
  • Is a business or nonprofit that can demonstrate it is affected by the COVID-19 emergency
  • Needs working capital to support eligible expenses
  • Demonstrates an income loss as result of the COVID-19 emergency

Click image below to enlarge.

Update for Michigan Small Business Relief Program Grant Recipients

  • You are eligible to apply. This is a change to initial communications.

Eligible Expenditures

Grants must be used for expenditures made between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 that meet the following criteria:

  • Necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 (such as resulting from employment or business interruptions due to COVID-19)
  • Working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, costs related to reopening a business or nonprofit, or other use authorized under the CARES Act.

Watch This Zoominar to Learn More

On Monday, July 27, Southwest Michigan First CEO and Senior Partner Ron Kitchens, co-hosted an informational session on the program with James Liggins Jr., senior counsel at Warner Norcross + Judd. Watch the Zoominar now.

How to Apply

The Michigan Small Business Restart Program application will go live starting on July 15, 2020 at 9:00 am and close on August 5, 2020 at 11:59 pm. Here’s a link to the Application Questions. Applicants will apply through the portal on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)’s website.

Application Deadline

The application on the state website will close on Wednesday August 5, 2020 at 11:59 pm (midnight). THE APPLICATION IS NOW CLOSED.

Process Timeline

Applications Open July 15, 2020 at 9:00 am

Applications Close August 5, 2020 at 11:59 pm

Application Review and Selection August 30, 2020

Notification to Awardees September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020

Announcement of Awardees by Southwest Michigan First September 8, 2020

Disbursement of Awards – As Documentation is Finalized Including Signed Grant Agreements and W-9 Forms September 8, 2020 to December 30, 2020


On September 8, 2020, Southwest Michigan First announced the recipients of grant awards. 1,434 Southwest Michigan businesses received $5,000 grant awards. The press release is available here.

Grant Recipients

The list of grant recipients, updated September 30. is available here.

Want the Data on the Process?

Southwest Michigan First has completed this report on the grant process. You can view it here.


Contact Kelsey McKague by email at info@southwestmichiganfirst.com or call at 269.553.9588.


Frequently Asked Questions, Program Guidelines & Resources


Last Updated: August 6, 2020 |  01:00 pm

Southwest Michigan First

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Kalamazoo, MI 49008