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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Small Business Help for Delta County Michigan Businesses Struggling with Extended COVID-19 Shut Down

Small businesses in the U.P. (Delta County) are being decimated with COVID-19. Because of the of the public health concerns non-essential businesses must close their doors leaving many small business owners concerned. Rumors are mounting that a 70 day extension to current emergency orders may be reissued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer soon. State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) isn't so sure that such a long extension is needed and legislature is working on a solution (1). If you own a small business and need help you may want to continue reading.....

What we do know is that the economy is tanking and many businesses are going to bottom out and close. For example, in the hotel industry, according to Detroit Metro and Convention and Visitors Bureau, up to 1/4  of businesses in that industry may never reopen (2).  This is where disaster bridging loans become more important. I wouldn't wait forever if you have a business in Delta County and need help.

Its a tough situation and absolutely no one knows what the "right" answer is. We do know that the economy is hit hard and the government (state and federal) are doing the absolute best they can with the resources available. People want more but as a society we may need to rethink future strategies. It will be very hard to rely on government to solve all of the answers but when there are resources available I encourage businesses in Escanaba and Gladstone area to take benefit of them. 

There is about $500,000 total in loans available for Delta County. Keweenaw, Houghton, Ontonagon, Gogebic, Baraga, Iron, Marquette, Dickinson, Menominee, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, Chippewa.  

Here are two resources for people with small businesses that might need some additional help:

Michigan Small Business Fund (3):

"Michigan’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 virus can now apply for grants and loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The program will provide up to $20 million in grants and loans to provide economic assistance to Michigan’s small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus, and in turn help support workers and their families facing economic uncertainty during the outbreak. Information on how to apply, as well as eligibility criteria, is available at www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19."(3Contact. Kathleen Achtenberg achtenbergk@michigan.org

Federal Small Business Disaster Loans to Michigan (4).

President Trump responded to Michigan Governor Whitmer's request for disaster relief by offering small business disaster loans to companies and non-profits in Michigan. Interest rates are a low 3.75% +/- and up to $2 million per entity. The loans are designed to help pay fixed expenses, pay roll, etc.. It is a type of bridging until we get out of the crisis (4). Those that are interested may want to read more about it https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-offers-disaster-assistance-michigan-small-businesses-economically-impacted-coronavirus-covid-19

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov Additional contact Contact Michael Lampton (404) 331-0333 Michael.Lampton@sba.gov

We know that running a small business and taking care of your family is very difficult. When tough times hit there might not be enough supportive capital to get you through. While government can't be the "save all" to everyone it does seem that Michigan and the Federal Government are doing their best with the capital that is available to them. Its important to remember that there is also a cost to any support provided based on limited resource availability. 

As a small business owner I'm not 100% sure that a 70 day hard extension of the order is yet necessary. We are all aware of the fluid nature of this crisis and the need to act, re-evaluate our strategies and try again. I would suggest we move to something smaller like a 30 day extension with the right to extend again another 30 days when needed. That will give an opportunity to adjust and respond to changes in the environment. Got Questions? Try and get hold of someone who works for you and your business!

State Representative Beau Lafave 
State Senator Ed McBroom 
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Jack Bergman

Stay safe out there and practice social distancing!

Author. Dr. Murad Abel, Business Professor, Research Fellow, Small Business Owner. Linked-In



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