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Small businesses in Detroit get $7.25 million in COVID relief

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is distributing $7.25 million in grants to more than 900 small businesses in Detroit.

The funding, awarded through the Michigan Small Business Restart Program, will provide each business a grant of up to $20,000, officials announced recently. The assistance helps protect small businesses in Detroit that were hit especially hard during the pandemic.

Skin Bar VII, a facial spa on Livernois that opened late last year, received funding from the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.'s  Restart and Relief programs.

The application period for restart ran from July 15 to Aug. 5. DEGC is notifying applicants and expects to have all funds distributed soon.

“Several of our Detroit small businesses are using COVID-19 relief funding to digitize goods and services, hire back employees and adhere to health and safety protocols," Pierre Batton, DEGC's vice president of small business services said in a statement. "This grant program provides a lifeline for Detroit small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy.”

The Restart program is the second round of small business relief funding that the DEGC has administered in partnership with Michigan Economic Development. The first, the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, launched in March. More than a total $11 million in aid has been awarded to Detroit small businesses since April, officials said.

The average grant awarded through the Restart program was $7,700 with the majority going to minority and women-owned businesses. 

Among the recipients was Skin Bar VII, a facial spa on Livernois that opened late last year. 

"We were just hitting our stride when the COVID-19 crisis hit," said owner Sevyn Jones. "We have been blessed to receive funding from both the Relief and Restart grant programs." 

Jones said that her business is open both online and in person.

"As our customer traffic increases and we adjust to the new normal, we are looking to hire additional employees,” she said.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN