Many Michigan small businesses eligible for unused federal money

Money issues from CARES Act

Many small businesses eligible for unused federal money.

DEARBORN, Mich. – Many small businesses are eligible for thousands of dollars in money from the federal government.

Noah Saleh did what many people only dream of doing and at 27, he turned a passion into a money-maker with Noah’s Smokehouse

The future was bright for Saleh. In his first year, business was mind-boggling.

“It started great,” Saleh said. “It was kind of overwhelming.”

He said they were selling out by 5 p.m. nearly every single day. When the coronavirus pandemic started, he was forced to close down for three months. Like many small businesses, just because the outbreak shut down the business, it didn’t mean the operations stopped.

“We had lease payments that weren’t forgiven, electric bills were still coming, third-party services, delivery systems, maintenance fees,” Saleh said. “All these fees kept coming and coming without any revenue. It really set us under. The biggest blow was letting my employees go and not giving them anything because we didn’t have anything to give.”

But then he stumbled over a notice by the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce. It had $1.3 million to give -- not loan -- to businesses in Federal CARES Act monies. Yet few businesses in Dearborn took advantage of the opportunity to stay a float with federal dollars.

READ: Applications open for Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative $15k

“We have more than a million still to give away,” said Jackie LoveJoy, with the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. “And they will pay employers that employ less than 50 people $15,000 and they will pay your vendors, they will pay your utilities, they’ll pay your light bill, they’ll pay food costs. They’ll pay what you need to stay in business even if you’re current with your current bills.”

Saleh received the top allowable amount: $15,000.

“It definitely helps us stay above water,” Saleh said.

“We are giving that money away until it’s gone,” LoveJoy said. “As far as I know, there’s no retraction of the dollars, but we want to get that money out the door so we’re eligible for more money for our businesses.”

More information can be found on the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce’s official website here.

About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.