GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Struggling small businesses in Michigan can now get more financial help to keep them afloat.
Through the Michigan Small Business Survival Program grant, $55 million will be available. The grants come from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Money is on the table but not enough for everyone who wants a seat. The program is offering up to $20,000 to businesses that have been closed since November and up to $15,000 to those partially closed.
Small business owners who can prove they’ve been impacted by the latest emergency order by the health department can apply for grants starting Tuesday at 9 a.m. But News 8 learned the system was backed up a few hours after the application portal opened.
“We’ve been in the queue for about two and a half hours now and still have about 12,00 people waiting in line,” said Brent Petersen, part owner of Lennon and Willow Boutique.
The website stated wait times vary but are “expected to be over 9 hours.” And once a business is able to apply, users have 20 minutes to fill out the form or they’ll lose their place in line.
“We don’t expect anything from that. We’ve applied for other MEDC loans in the past and quite frankly, there is not enough to go around,” added Brent, who owns the boutique with his wife Tenneile.
Another option for small businesses to get financial help is to apply for are the Payment Protection Program loans. Officials say the process for PPP loans in much smoother.
Lennon and Willow opened their business in 2016. The clothing boutique is now hanging by a thread.
“We’re in survival mode,” Tenneile said. “We know we probably won’t make any money in the next few months. We are just hoping that we can pay our rent and pay our employees,” Brent said.
People choosing to shop local during the holiday season helped businesses, but store owners say they aren’t sure they can carry on without more financial aid.
“These types of assistance and grants and loans are what keep us alive right now,” Brent said
The Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program application portal closes at noon on Friday. For those interested in applying, there are step-by-step instructions along with frequently asked questions online.
Another application, the Michigan Stages Survival Program, opens Thursday.
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