Ann Arbor SPARK disperses $495K to businesses in Washtenaw, Livingston counties impacted by COVID-19

More than 1,500 companies in Washtenaw and Livingston counties applied for the limited amount of funding available. (Pexels)

ANN ARBOR – The Michigan Small Business Relief Program, funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. was established in response to businesses experiencing COVID-related distress. Ann Arbor SPARK administered this funding for Washtenaw and Livingston counties.

The demand for funding through the program was overwhelming. The need far exceeded the funds available. More than 1,500 companies in Washtenaw and Livingston counties applied for the limited amount of funding available. Nearly $15 million in need was requested compared to the $327,000 in grant funding available to disperse in Washtenaw County and $168,000 to disperse in Livingston County.

“This is an unprecedented time that we are all facing and navigating together,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “Ann Arbor SPARK is ready and able to quickly work with our partners to deploy assistance to companies through programs like the Michigan Small Business Relief Program. We recognize there is an immense need for support and are working diligently to connect businesses to as many resources as possible.”

The review panel for Washtenaw County applicants was comprised of representatives from Ann Arbor SPARK, Washtenaw Community College, Washtenaw County’s Racial Equity Office, and the Washtenaw Office of Community & Economic Development. In Livingston County, the review panel was comprised of representatives from the Economic Development Council for Livingston County, Ann Arbor SPARK, and the Livingston County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

With guidance from the Small Business Development Center, the review panels for both counties used the following criteria to determine who received funding:

  • Longevity of a business’s operations
  • Number of employees impacted
  • COVID-related business losses, where available resources could make an impact
  • Providing resources across our region

We encourage all businesses to pursue all options available to them to help in this time of need. Please review our COVID-19 related business resources page, which we are updating regularly.

Ann Arbor SPARK has two upcoming virtual events next week to provide timely information and resources to businesses. Our event with business leader Ted Dacko will offer advice on decision-making during times of crisis and our event with Rehmann covers what business owners need to know about various funding options available. Please check our events page for more upcoming events.

More information regarding the Michigan Small Business Relief Program is available on Ann Arbor SPARK’s website.