$300K-Plus in Grants Available for Oakland County-Based Manufacturers That Provide Goods or Services

Help for small businesses as they reopen during COVID-19 crisis

Vaughn Custom Sports was among Oakland County companies that shifted to making PPE equipment. (Photo courtesy of Vaughn Custom Sports)

“Saving Business, Saving Lives” grant applications are now available to Oakland County-based manufacturers who can provide materials or services needed by small businesses to safely re-open from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant applications are accepted beginning today for manufacturers or companies who can help play a role in the re-boot for thousands of Oakland County small businesses either through the manufacture of essential items such as sanitizers, protective equipment and barriers or touchless technologies, County Executive David Coulter said. The fund has more than $300,000 to distribute.

“As many of our small businesses prepare to re-engage with customers, they will find a vastly different environment than the one they knew several months ago,” Coulter said. “Customers and employees alike are concerned with their health and safety and want businesses to take the necessary steps to keep them protected as they regain their confidence. These grants will provide vital goods and services to our small businesses to help reassure customers their health and safety is a priority.”

Coulter, with support from the Board of Commissioners, has aggressively supported small businesses through the allocation of nearly $14 million to 3,500 small businesses seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants averaged nearly $4,000 from the small business stabilization fund. The “Saving Businesses, Saving Lives” grant is included in the nearly $14 million fund.

The county last week began distributing 10,000 “Oakland Together” COVID-19 safety toolkits which include facemasks, no-touch thermometers, gloves and sanitizer to give small businesses essential materials for reopening and customers confidence they will have a safe experience. The toolkits were available to small businesses, faith-based and nonprofit organizations.

With Oakland County and Michigan moving into Phase 4, this round of grants expands the search to companies that can play a role in helping Oakland County businesses reopen by providing unique processes, products and services that will help Oakland County’s small businesses reopen.

The “Saving Business, Saving Lives” grants extend the health and safety theme. Previous funding rounds were successful in helping companies produce personal protective equipment such as face shields and masks for first responders and health care workers. Nearly $520,000 was awarded to 13 companies.

The new grants also coordinate seamlessly with Phase 4 of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start for reopening the state’s economy as coronavirus cases continue to decline in Oakland County and the state.

“With Oakland County and Michigan moving into Phase 4, this round of grants expands the search to companies that can play a role in helping Oakland County businesses reopen by providing unique processes, products and services that will help Oakland County’s small businesses reopen,” Coulter said. “We are incentivizing businesses to help other businesses successfully reopen during this pandemic.”

Eligible products, processes or services include:

  • Barriers and partitions
  • Sanitizing services
  • Disinfectant and hand sanitizer
  • Fogging disinfectant systems for large areas
  • Signage
  • Portable stations (sanitizing and hand washing)
  • Gloves
  • Diagnostic tests or test kits for SARS-CoV-2
  • Temperature testing equipment
  • “Touchless” technologies
  • Social distancing products

Companies must be based in Oakland County. Preference will be given to companies that manufacture or produce in Oakland County and Michigan. Companies should have the capability to produce a significant volume of the product or service within 30-90 days.

Eligible use of funds includes:

  • Procuring necessary equipment to manufacture supplies
  • Logistics, shipping, technology upgrades
  • Other costs related to operationalizing new product lines.

Interested companies can apply for a grant at https://forms.oakgov.com/146. The deadline is June 15 at 12 a.m. For questions: PPEgrant@oakgov.com.

Each grant application will be reviewed by a panel. The panel members are:

  • Manager Alain Piette, MI-SBTDC Technology Team
  • Dr. Carmine Jabri, co-founder of E.M.M.A. International Consulting Group, Inc.
  • Jaideep Rajput, director of commercialization for Beaumont Health Services
  • Michael W. Long, Ph.D., executive director of Oakland University Mobilization Zone
  • Julie Killian, CPA, Clayton & McKervey
  • Dan Radomski, director, Lawrence Technological University Centrepolis Accelerator

County Commissioners Janet Jackson, D-Southfield; William Miller, D-Farmington, and Michael Spisz, R-Oxford, are participating in an advisory role.