Michigan Small Businesses Seek Relief From COVID-19 Downturn

President Trump just signed nearly $500 billion in additional relief, but Michigan small businesses are still ridden with anxiety and stress.

Small businesses are facing substantial financial and emotional challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s not a luxury to have a healthy small business economy throughout the state, it’s a necessity.” — Brian Calley, Small Business Association of Michigan

Grants and loans have been enacted to help with the stressors many of these businesses are experiencing. President Donald Trump signed a nearly $500 billion relief package over the weekend that includes more than $300 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, which was almost immediately drained when it was first created under the massive $2 trillion CARES Act last month. 

Some large organizations, including the Los Angeles Lakers franchise, were criticized for tapping federal loans meant for small business. 

Listen: Will emergency loans be enough for Michigan small businesses? 


Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Associate of Michigan and former Lieutenant Governor, says small businesses are the pillars of our community.

The Paycheck Protection Program “has to go to the actual small businesses, because they’re the ones with the fewest options. It’s not a luxury to have a healthy small business economy throughout the state, it’s a necessity,” Calley says.

Chad Livengood, senior editor of Crain’s Detroit Business, says Governor Gretchen Whitmer is facing a complex balancing act in combating COVID-19.

Livengood say initially the focus was on mitigating the spread of the virus, but now Whitmer must also “mitigate the spread of a depression.”

He says it’s imperative to address the public health crisis and also get some type of economic stimulation going to avoid years of downturn in the state.

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter says “like a lot of counties, we received a grant from the state from the [Michigan Economic Development Corporation] for $1.15 million.”

Coulter says his county matched those funds and, even then, him and other county officials realized it wasn’t going to be nearly enough.

“We created a $3 million fund,” he says and explains that the county carved out $700,000 from that fund for companies that could switch over to making personal protection equipment. He says the county is currently working on rolling out a second opportunity for Oakland County businesses to apply for grant funding to support their operations.

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