Reports on a national and local level showed that businesses were closing due to the restrictions and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the new year just beginning, Washtenaw County has responded to the issue: launching a program that will help local small businesses that were affected by COVID-19 related challenges such as cancellations, social distancing, and overall economic hardship.
This program, called the Small Business Growth Activator Program, plans to launch up to one million dollars of Federal Cares Act funding, which will grant each eligibile business $5000 alongside free business assistance.
"The County is utilizing the CARES Act funding to partner with entrepreneurial and business support organizations to deliver business coaching and other business supports such as website design or accounting help," said a news release.
The new initiative is specifically for businesses with five or fewer employees who have been in business since March 16, 2020, as well as those who are now closed and hoping to reopen. According to the Washtenaw County's Community and Economic Development, the program will be able to help 80-100 microenterprises.
Companies including Proxie, Growing Hope, Association of Business of Color, Ann Arbor SPARK, and Small Business Development Center will help provide assistance to the businesses that are accepted.
"Many of them have offered support in the form of counseling and meetups to help folks feel supported," Cheranissa Roach, Economic Opportunity Manager in the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, said in a statement. "Many will continue to provide these same services."
Washtenaw County businesses interested in this opportunity can fill out a form to apply for the funds until May of 2023.