Wayne County offering $50 million in grants to small businesses

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Wayne County plans to offer $50 million in grants to small businesses as they reopen during COVID-19. 

The  Wayne County Back to Work: Small Business Readiness Grant will be funded through the county’s allotment from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. At least 5,000 county small businesses could receive grants of up to $10,000. Applications will be available June 29-July 10.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans

“One thing we understood right away — if we delay expenditures of the money too long, the very businesses that we’re trying to help will die on the vine,”  Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said Thursday at a press conference. “We have decided to allot $50 million of the CARES money to Wayne County small business to help them with the related cost from COVID-19.”

Funds could be used for:

  • Payroll costs for permanent employees
  • Contract labor
  • Supplier payments
  • Rent, lease or mortgage payment
  • Rent, lease or purchase payment for business equipment
  • New or expanded technology applications
  • Utility payments for business properties
  • Cost of critical business operations
  • PPE and sanitation supplies

To qualify, businesses must be a brick-and-mortar operation that is unable to accommodate business from home. The businesses must employ less than 50 full time employees, be in existence for at least one year and be in good standing with the State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Total revenue does not exceed $1 million dollars.

The grant follows two previous relief funds for businesses in Wayne County. The Michigan Small Business Relief awarded grants of up to $10,000 to 196 businesses. The TCF & Wayne County Small Business Relief Loan Fund provided $4.3 million in low-interest microloans to 225 businesses.

"Sometimes a small business can’t always take a loan out,” said Wayne County Commission Chair Alisha Bell. “They have to have money to pay the loan back. So this grant program is going to be so important for those small businesses that need that extra money that they can put in for either rent, for utilities, paying their staff. However this need to make sure that their business stays afloat.”


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