MI Small Business Summer Tour Touts Efforts to Invest in Small Businesses, Jumpstart the Economy

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer this week kicked off the MI Small Business Summer tour. The governor announced she and her cabinet members will visit and recognize Michigan’s small businesses that have shown resiliency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and who she says are “the backbone of our communities.”

According to information provided by the state, the state’s dozens of economic relief programs for businesses supported more than 25,000 companies and retained more than 200,000 jobs throughout the pandemic.

The state of Michigan is already seeing promising results from the economic policies and COVID mitigation measures that have helped small businesses and working people recover from the pandemic:

  • Michigan’s economy grew 7.6% in the first quarter of 2021, the best in the Midwest, higher than the national average, and among the top 10 states nationwide. 
  • An independent analysis from the financial publication Credible states that our economic recovery is the 2nd strongest nationwide. 
  • The financial ratings agencies Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings recently improved Michigan’s credit rating outlook, affirming that Michigan is headed in the right direction and saving taxpayers money by lower borrowing costs for upcoming bond issues.   
  • New projections show the state’s revenue outlook increasing by nearly $6.5 billion — from a $3 billion deficit to a $3.5 billion surplus. 
  • Michigan’s unemployment rate is nearly one point lower than the national average as more Michiganders get back to work.   

“As we continue to put Michigan’s economy first, I’m laser focused on getting small businesses the support they need and creating jobs,” Whitmersaid. “Our dedication to small businesses is fueled from hearing from the small businesses themselves. From hosting a series of small business summits with Lt. Gov. Gilchrist to our recent Jobs and Economy town hall, we have been hearing what small businesses need directly from those who need it most. These conversations ensure that our economic recovery is strong and meets the needs of Michiganders across the state as we put Michigan back to work.” 

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) launched the Michigan.gov/SmallBusiness site to help Small Businesses navigate state programs and services available to help them not only recover, but grow and thrive in the years to come. Additional programs aimed at helping employers fill job openings and provide safe, healthy work environments for employees can be found at Michigan.gov/BackToWork.  

“To date, we have supported tens of thousands of small businesses, keeping millions of Michiganders hard at work while investing billions of dollars back into the economy,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said. “But we can’t stop there. As we continue setting a course for economic recovery, we need additional efforts to stabilize, recover and ultimately grow the economy in Michigan to build on the foundation of support and relief we have already administered statewide.” 

In addition to the June statewide virtual small business summit and in-person Detroit Small Business Summit, the State of Michigan is bringing together small businesses, state and local policymakers, regional economic development leaders, banks and credit unions, business owners and community organizations to collect feedback through regional small business summits and other outreach events to learn how to best create policies and program to continue to support small businesses.    

The next event will take place in Grand Rapids on July 19 from 3 – 5 p.m. at the Downtown Market Grand Rapids. Additional regional and industry-specific events are in the process of being scheduled. To register and for more information, visit the online Small Business Summit meetings site. 

With the large boost in state revenues announced at the May Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, Michigan is in a strong position to make large investments that can transform the state and help residents and businesses recover from the pandemic.   

With billions in funding from the American Rescue Plan and $176 million in federal State Small Business Credit Initiative funds coming our way in addition to a large influx of state revenue, this is a moment in Michigan’s history that can deliver real and lasting positive outcomes for the state. 

This unprecedented amount of funding creates an unmatched opportunity for investment in our state. 

“We need to ensure businesses have what they need to succeed because a recovery without robust business investment and involvement will be incomplete,” Whitmer said. “With additional state revenues expected and billions of dollars in incoming federal funding, Michigan is in a strong position to make investments that can transform the landscape for small businesses so they can thrive and create jobs.”

Whitmer’s economic jumpstart for small businesses proposals included:

  • Putting $300 million into the Michigan Mainstreet Initiative. 
  • Michigan Small Business Restart Program will invest $100 million to help restaurants and other place-based businesses cover costs by providing grants up to $20,000 for mortgage, rent, taxes, payroll and other operating expenses. The plan will set aside $25 million for small businesses with less than nine employees, which is over half of Michigan businesses and a high proportion of women and minority-owned businesses.
  • Michigan Small Business SmartZones & Business Accelerator & Resiliency Initiative would invest $75 million to provide grants to startups that can help our communities thrive. The plan would create the Small Business Support Network and Small Business Fund to support traditional commercial corridor/Main Street businesses and provide opportunities for new businesses. 
  • Michigan Microenterprise Support Initiative would invest $125 million to provide grants for businesses that did not qualify or apply for other incentives, like the federal Paycheck Protection Program. The plan would work with community development financial institutions to provide loans to rural businesses or other businesses with less than nine employees that struggled to access capital through traditional programs. 

In addition to the suite of proposals dedicated to small business and restaurants laid out in Governor Whitmer’s Economic Jumpstart Plan, throughout the pandemic, the state has implemented 23 economic relief programs for businesses, supported more than 25,000 companies and retained more than 200,000 jobs.  

For more information and to find resources for Small Businesses at Michigan.gov/SmallBusinesses.