Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Get Boost as Coulter Seeks Increase in Small Business Stabilization Fund

Over 700 small businesses awarded in Round One

Oakland County small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will receive $2.3 million in grants from the county’s small business stabilization fund, County Executive David Coulter said today.

More than 700 small businesses received grants, which would provide 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. Coulter said the overwhelming response has prompted him to ask the Board of Commissioners for additional funding to support Oakland County businesses.

Information regarding the grant program and first round awardees may be found here.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter (Photo by Brad Ziegler)

“We know our small businesses are suffering,” Coulter said. “The Board of Commissioners and I took swift action to help these businesses. But there is an urgent need to help more businesses and that’s why I’m asking the board to approve additional funding to help these businesses. We always believed this was the first phase of assistance. We need to help them keep their doors open.”

Board Chairman David Woodward said the board would consider the request for additional funding promptly. The board is scheduled to meet on April 29.

“The board also understands this is an unprecedented time for our small businesses and realize they don’t have the luxury of time – their need is immediate,” Woodward said. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to help.”

The stabilization fund was comprised of a $1.15 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and a matching grant from the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. The board also appropriated an additional $700,000 for the “Saving Business, Saving Lives’ grants for companies able to pivot from normal productions to manufacture personal protective equipment for health care workers and first responders.

“This fund was created in the early stages of this crisis when we knew small businesses would need immediate financial help to stabilize,” Coulter said. “They are the life blood of our economy and we wanted to get these grants into their hands as quickly as possible.”

Grant consideration was highly competitive as 7,372 small businesses requested assistance. Applications were sorted by 12 geographic districts and evaluated by a team of local economic leaders from each district. Recommendations were based on their reviews and made in compliance with strict MEDC guidelines. The maximum award was $10,000 although the average grant ranged from about $2,500 to $5,359, depending on district.

“We think it’s important that funding decisions were made by community business leaders who know these businesses and see the pain this crisis has caused in their communities,” Woodward said.

Coulter said the county received good news late Thursday when it received additional funding from the federal CARES Act, which will allow the county to offer grants to small businesses. Businesses initially approved for grants were notified electronically today. The second-round grants could be awarded as early next week. Small businesses who applied for the first round do not need to file a second application.

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 demonstrated an income loss as a result of the EO, or the COVID-19 outbreak.