Coulter: More Than 3,500 Oakland County Small Businesses Helped As Nearly $14 Million In Stabilization Grants Awarded

More than 3,500 small businesses seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will receive grants averaging nearly $4,000 from Oakland County’s $14 million small business stabilization fund, County Executive David Coulter said May 21.

The grants provide the small businesses with an immediate infusion of capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.

“Small businesses are vital to Oakland County’s economy and so many of our residents,” Coulter said. “They bring life and value to our communities. These grants provide a substantial boost to many small businesses who have suffered greatly through no fault of their own. We were able to fund nearly 50 percent of the businesses who applied for grants. I applaud the Board of Commissioners for its quick action in funding the program.”

The grants, which totaled nearly $14 million, were awarded in two phases. In April, 797 small businesses received an average of $2,886 from a $2.3 million fund that was created by a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and a matching grant from the Board of Commissioners.

The county added another $700,000 to create the “Saving Businesses, Saving Lives” grant program to incentivize manufacturers who could transition to making personal protective equipment for health care, hospitals and first responders, bringing available grants to a total of $3 million. Eight manufacturers have shared more than $400,000, with several other companies being considered for grants this week.

After the initial fund was quickly exhausted, Coulter went to the board on April 29 and asked it to quadruple the appropriation because of the profound and immediate need among small businesses. Board approval for an additional $12 million was unanimous.

To qualify for grant consideration, businesses met the following criteria:

  • The company was in an industry outlined in Executive Order 2020-9 , or any subsequent Executive Order of similar intent, or demonstrates it was otherwise affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as meeting additional criteria.
  • The company had 50 employees or fewer.
  • The company needed working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.
  • The company could demonstrate an income loss as a result of the EO, or the COVID-19 outbreak.

Coulter praised and thanked the teams of local economic development leaders from 12 geographic districts, who evaluated the applications and made recommendations, based on strict MEDC guidelines.

Second phase grant recipients include 2,763 small businesses who were shutout of the first round of funding.

  • The average grant award for the 3,560 recipients is $3,973
  • 88 small businesses received the maximum award of $10,000
  • 564 businesses received funding in both rounds

Nearly 7,400 small businesses – 17 percent of all businesses in Oakland County – applied for grants. They pegged their need from the COVID-19 pandemic at $80 million.