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$1,000,000 in State and Local Dollars Support Businesses Affected By COVID-19

News Release
April 10, 2020

NORTHWEST LOWER, MI – Michigan Strategic Fund dollars from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will support grants and loans to businesses in the 10 counties of Northwest Lower Michigan affected by Governor Whitmer’s “Stay at Home” Executive Order.

The Northwest Small Business Relief Fund Collaborative consisting of Networks NorthwestNorthern Lakes Economic AllianceNorthwest Michigan Works!Northwest Small Business Development CenterTraverse ConnectAlliance for Economic Success, and Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce reviewed nearly 1,000 applications for grants up to $10,000 and $50,000 loans. The Collaborative was able to award $520,000 in grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 for 75 small businesses across Northwest Michigan, and is referring 10 businesses to receive a total of $500,000 in extremely low interest loans from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.   

An objective review of all applications included criteria set forth by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, including size of business, COVID-19 impact, profitability, and proximity to high impact areas. The scoring teams also considered historical/cultural significance as well as ensuring all counties in the region had awarded businesses. A list of businesses receiving grants is available at

Matt McCauley, CEO of Networks Northwest stated, “I am very proud of the collaborative, yet sobering work of this group of economic development agencies and professionals from throughout the region. While these dollars will be meaningful to many area employers, only 7% of the applicants received grants because of the limited funds provided to us by the state. I truly wish there was more money we could distribute. We will continue to be an advocate for area companies impacted by this severe economic disruption and fully anticipate more resources to assist in the near future.” 

“We were proud to be part of the regional team on this important effort.  It was truly humbling to see the impact COVID-19 has had on a wide range of businesses in our area.” said Andy Hayes, President, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance.

Lisa Leedy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Economic Success stated, “This grant process took a unified approach to offer additional resources to help reduce the impact and preserve our commercial corridors through a collaborative effort of our economic development team."

“The Michigan Small Business Relief Program is one of the ways we are leveraging every resource available to provide relief in the face the negative impacts COVID-19 is having on businesses across the state,” said Josh Hundt, Chief Business Development Officer and Executive Vice President at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We are proud to work with our partners in Northern Michigan to bring these critical resources to small businesses.”

For more information on resources for businesses affected by COVID-19, please visit

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The professionals at Networks Northwest help our City Council, Planning Commission, and staff make thoughtful decisions to ensure our community is sustainable and resilient for many years to come.
- Mark Heydlauff, Charlevoix City Manager