Macomb County offers last round of business grants with federal dollars

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published October 23, 2020

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MACOMB COUNTY — There is a final call to Macomb County businesses of all sizes: Seize the opportunity to apply for grants while money is still available.

This is the county’s fifth go-around with grants, with money coming from federal CARES Act dollars. About $5 million remains from funding not spent in previous grant periods throughout the pandemic.

Those able to apply for this round of grant monies include businesses with between one and 49 employees, eligible for up to $5,000; businesses with between 50 and 500 employees, eligible for up to $10,000; and sole proprietors, eligible for up to $2,500. 

All applications must include a hand-signed W-9 form from within the past 12 months, a hand-signed and dated affidavit, a bill with business information from within the past 30 days, and proof of business registration. The deadline to apply is noon on Nov. 2. 

Macomb County Planning and Economic Development Director Vicky Rad said that, when the first round of grants went out in April, it was a “lifeline” for county businesses.

Today, over six months into this fluid situation, Rad said the county is aware that some family-run and -operated businesses have gone under.

“We’re finding that businesses that don’t necessarily own the building, they seem to have a very difficult time keeping up with their rent payments,” she said. “The income’s just not coming in.”

A thrive-and-survive approach has provided county officials and business leaders with lessons on how to improve a model of sustainability, while also developing a robust database. Rad said the pandemic has “really opened (the county’s) eyes” on how local community businesses operate and function.

The online business connection grant helped customer-facing businesses get websites running and social media accounts in sync with the times. She described it as an extension of the marketing arm.

As the weather changes and the temperature drops, businesses — most notably restaurants — have utilized the workplace safety grant to purchase outdoor igloos that provide comfort and warmth and allow for clientele to still patronize such businesses.

Rad said the hope is that businesses will continue to remain creative in terms of viability. For example, that means they have to encourage community residents who may not want to physically frequent locations to still go online and shop locally.

The county aims for another big holiday push during Small Business Saturday.

Even though CARES Act dollars are almost dried up, Rad hopes those businesses that have survived thus far will keep the momentum going into 2021.

“Despite all the woes, we have heard of some great success stories,” she said.

Businesses that apply for grants must be located within the county and be for-profit organizations, among other specifications. For all the information, visit https://business.macombgov.org/business-sustainability-grant-last-call.

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