LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation administered 23 economic relief programs throughout COVID-19 and now new legislation has passed to help businesses going into 2022.

Quentin Messer Jr., CEO of MEDC, says 2021 posed challenges but was cause for optimism for many.

“Partly what MEDC accomplished was really continuing to support small and medium-sized businesses throughout the state as they continue to recover from COVID-19 and now deal with the endemic that we’re in,” said Messer. “So that included pushing out 23 different grant programs. I think there was also work to make sure that our tourism industry, that people began to safely return to Michigan and making sure that the message that pure Michigan was open safely and responsibly.”

Messer says the state also had a hand in stepping up during the pandemic to help produce COVID-19 vaccines at Pfizer in Portage along with manufacturers across the state that worked to produce PPE.

“Countless manufacturers across the state particularly in the up have stepped up and produced PPE and other things and shown that true grittiness and resiliency and inventiveness of Michigan companies and as we end the year we are making sure that Michigan is prepared to compete aggressively for opportunities,” said Messer.

House Bill 5603, Senate Bill 771, Senate Bill 769 and Senate Bill 85 all passed with bipartisan support with the goal of supporting small businesses and building Michigan’s economic momentum. Messer says going into 2022, the MEDC realizes there’s a lot of work to do and they intend to help put more money in Michigander’s pockets and help create opportunities that make sense across the Upper Peninsula, Northern Michigan and the state as a whole.

“I think what you saw in the legislation you saw Michigan basically say we’re going to be competitive for businesses of all sizes so you saw directed relief for small businesses you saw creative policy with regard to taxes,” said Messer. “What you also saw is being able to compete for transformative projects not just in the immediate but set up a framework for us to aggressively compete long-term.”

HB 5603 will create a $1 billion economic development fund. SB 771 creates a $500 million fund for keeping the economy up with technological changes, supporting small businesses and creating or retaining good-paying jobs. Senate bill 769 set up a financing mechanism for the programs created under HB 5603 and SB 771. SB 85 will provide direct assistance to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is nothing that Michiganders can’t do when we come together and that’s what you saw with this legislation package that was passed bipartisan,” said Messer. “And the final thing is, lets not forget that what makes Michigan special it’s the inventiveness of it’s people. The number one asset of Michigan are the 10 plus million friends and neighbors across this great state.”