Restart Grants FAQ

Source, Amount and Use of Funds

Where do the funds for the Michigan Small Business Restart Program grants come from?

The state of Michigan has allocated $100 million of federal CARES Act funding to implement the Michigan Small Business Restart Program to support the needs of Michigan businesses directly impacted by COVID-19.

The program is administered at the state level by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in partnership with 15 economic development organizations (EDO) representing various regions across the state. The Lansing region (region 7) is represented by LEAP. Fundamental eligibility for this program was established by federal government guidelines and final eligibility issues were established by the state legislature and signed into law.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved distribution of the CARES Act funds allocated for small business restart grants to eligible EDOs. The full list of funding allocations is available on the MEDC website.

What geographic area of Michigan is the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) administering restart grant funds for?

The Lansing tri-county region of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, including all cities, villages and townships contained therein.

How much money is available for the Lansing region?

Approximately $5.5 million in restart grant funds are available to be given as grants to eligible Lansing region small businesses and nonprofits.

Of the funds available, a minimum of 30 percent per region must be awarded to minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses, as mandated by state legislation.

What amount is available for each individual grant request?

Grants in the Lansing region will be available in three categories:

  • Microbusinesses (9 or fewer paid total employees/workers) may apply for $10,000 grants.
  • Traditional small businesses (10-50 total paid employees/workers) may apply for $20,000 grants.
  • Nonprofit organizations (50 or fewer total paid employees/workers) may apply for $10,000 grants.

To determine number of employees/workers: number of W2 employees + number of 1099 contract workers = total number of employees and/or workers

How many grants are available?
  • Microbusinesses: 200 grants available (38% of available funds)
  • Traditional small businesses: 125 grants available (47% of available funds)
  • Nonprofit organizations: 77 grants available (15% of available funds)
Why are there different amounts available for each type of eligible business type/nonprofit?

Critical to LEAP’s values and our region, state law requires a minimum of 30% of funds ($1,590,000) be awarded to minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses.

Additionally important, is the distribution of funds across the region.

To meet the state requirements the following rationale was taken into consideration:

Microbusinesses

  • Microbusinesses represent 92% of all U.S. businesses collectively employing 41.3 million people (Association for Enterprise Opportunity).
  • More businesses from underrepresented groups, especially people of color (Blacks in particular) are operating sole proprietor/ships, classified as Microbusinesses (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research).
  • Establishing a category for Microbusinesses increases opportunity to have a large representation of underrepresented groups.

Nonprofits

  • Nonprofit organizations play a vital role in our regional economy and contribute to overall community prosperity. Nonprofits consume both goods and services that create jobs and provide relief and support from the economic impact of COVID-19 across many sectors including social services, social justice, economic development and education.
  • Nonprofits are not owned by an individual. Therefore, increasing the funding ratio allocated to nonprofits would impair our ability to reach the state-mandated 30 percent minimum of funds allocated to women-, veteran- and minority-owned businesses, as nonprofits cannot be counted within the scope of this criteria.
  • While nonprofits are eligible for the grants, the program as designed by the legislature and state is geared toward providing support to small businesses.
  • A large amount of additional funds specifically for nonprofit organizations may become available in the region this fall from other local organizations.
Who was involved in deciding how the funds would be distributed in the Lansing region?

LEAP staff, approximately 70 regional economic development partners and a large group of local diversity, equity and inclusion partners together by consensus determined the funding distribution and related review criteria and process for the Lansing region restart grant program.

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LEAP staff, approximately 70 regional economic development partners and a large group of local diversity, equity and inclusion partners together by consensus determined the funding distribution and related review criteria and process for the Lansing region restart grant program.

  • Lansing Region Economic Development Partner Organizations Map
  • NAACP of Greater Lansing
  • Melanin in Medicine-Black Business Alliance
  • Cristo Rey
  • Islamic Center of Greater Lansing
  • Vietnam Veterans of America – Michigan State Council
  • Disability Network Capital Area
  • Lansing Hispanic/Latino Chamber of Commerce / Cafecito Caliente
  • Michigan Women Forward
  • Best Practices Consulting Services
  • Refugee Development Center
What can the grant funds be used for?

Grants must be used for expenditures made between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 that meet the following criteria:

  • Necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 (such as resulting from employment or business interruptions due to COVID-19)
  • Working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, costs related to reopening a business or nonprofit, or other use authorized under the CARES Act.

Eligibility

Who is eligible for a restart grant?

Businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer employees, worldwide, located in Michigan. Businesses must also demonstrate the following:

  • Part of an industry or nonprofit that can demonstrate it has been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency
  • Needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses
  • Demonstrates an income loss as result of the COVID-19 emergency as determined by the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF).

You are eligible if you have received other federal or local grants or loans such as those recently awarded by Meridian Township, city of Lansing, East Lansing DDA or other local grant/loan programs. You are also eligible if you have received federal PPP loans.

Only one owner per legal business entity within the three-county area can apply (Clinton, Eaton or Ingham county).

How do I determine the number of employees/workers for my business/nonprofit?

The number of total employees/workers: number of W2 employees + number of 1099 contract workers = total number of employees and/or workers.

Only include information for paid employees/workers. Do not count volunteers as employees/workers.

Are sole proprietors/ships or home-based businesses eligible?

Yes, sole proprietors/ships and home-based businesses are eligible for $10,000 Microbusinesses grants. Microbusinesses in the Lansing region will be reviewed and scored using the business applicant criteria for Lansing Region Restart Grant Program applications.

Are nonprofits eligible?

Yes, nonprofits are eligible if they meet the minimum eligibility requirements. Nonprofit applicants must fill out the Lansing Region Nonprofit Restart Grant Survey in addition to the statewide restart grant application.

Nonprofits are eligible for $10,000 nonprofit grants and will be reviewed and scored using the nonprofit applicant criteria for Lansing Region Restart Grant Program applications.

How are minority-, woman- and veteran-owned defined?

As defined by the state:

Minority-owned means, as applied to an otherwise eligible business, that the eligible business is at least fifty-one percent (51%) directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more, or any combination of; Black or African Americans; Hispanic Americans; Native Americans (Alaska natives, native Hawaiians, or enrolled members of a federally or State recognized Indian tribe); Asian Americans; Arab or Middle Eastern Americans.

Woman-owned means that the eligible business is at least fifty-one percent (51%) directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women in addition to meeting all other eligibility requirements.

Veteran-Owned means that the eligible business is at least fifty-one percent (51%) directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more veterans of any military branch of the United States in addition to meeting all other eligibility requirements.

If my business has multiple locations, do I need to submit a separate application for each?

No, you can submit one application per legal business entity that covers all locations in the three-county area.

You must use worldwide metrics during the process (i.e. total number of employees, financial data, etc.) for eligibility determination and review purposes.

Is my franchise-owned business eligible?

Yes.

What if I already received a grant or loan from another state or federal grant or loan program?

You are eligible if you have received other federal or local grants or loans such as those recently awarded by Meridian Township, city of Lansing, East Lansing DDA or other local grant/loan programs. You are also eligible if you have received federal PPP loans.

You are NOT eligible if you received a grant under the Michigan Small Business Relief Program (MSBRP) earlier this year.

Lansing Region MSBRP Grant Awardee List.

If I currently owe federal, state or local or real estate taxes am I still eligible?

Yes, you are still eligible.

You will be asked to fill out and upload the “Applicant Business Certification Form” as the final step of submitting your application, which specifies: “The Applicant is current, under an approved payment plan, or otherwise contesting in good faith, all federal, State of Michigan, local and real estate taxes. Unless contested in good faith and discharged by appropriate proceedings, or under an approved payment plan, the Applicant shall, through December 30, 2020, promptly pay and discharge all such taxes, any assessments, and any governmental charges lawfully levied or imposed upon it (in each case, before they become delinquent and before penalties accrue).”

Application Questions

Who created the application?

The application was created by and is administered by the MEDC.

Why is LEAP including additional questions for nonprofits in the Lansing region?

The state program appears heavily focused on the small for-profit business component of this program, so we think it’s important to score and review nonprofits based on additional local criteria that relates to nonprofit organizations not included in the state created application.

Nonprofit applicants are asked to fill out a brief Lansing Region Restart Grant Survey in addition to the statewide application created by the MEDC. All nonprofit applicants who complete the statewide grant application will have the opportunity to complete the Lansing region Restart Grant Survey.

It is preferred for nonprofit grant applicants to complete the Lansing Region Restart Grant Survey before the statewide application period closes August 5, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

When is the application period?

The application will be open July 15 through 11:59 p.m. August 5, 2020.

When will applications be due?

The application will close August 5, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

How do I apply?

Businesses and nonprofits in the Lansing region should apply through LEAP’s Lansing Region Restart Grant portal located at: www.purelansing.com/businessrelief.

How long will the application take to fill out?

The application takes between 30 and 45 minutes depending the type of business and level of detail each individual applicant chooses to include. Please review the application questions before applying to best prepare to apply.

Can I save my application and come back to it later?

You will not be able to save your application and return to it later. However, you will be able to access and edit your completed application after you’ve submitted it.

What figures are accepted as revenue?

Gross sales receipts for questions pertaining to revenue suffices.

Who can I talk to at LEAP about my application?

Dillon Rush, LEAP Tri-county Projects and Placemaking Manager, Dillon@purelansing.com

Required Documentation

Will I have to upload documents to my application?

Yes. You will be required to upload a current W9 form and a completed Applicant Business Certification Form when you fill out the MEDC application:

If you are a nonprofit applicant, you will also be required to provide verification of your nonprofit status. When you fill out the Lansing Region Nonprofit Restart Grant Survey, you will be asked to upload a copy of documentation verifying your nonprofit tax status.

Will I need to submit financial documents as part of the application?

You will not have to attach financial documents, but you will be required to answer key financial questions and self-certify the honesty and accuracy of your answers.

Review Process

How will conflict of interest be addressed in the consideration of grant applicants?

To reduce bias and remove conflict of interest, a multi-entity committee consisting of 50-100 individuals will be involved at each stage of a multi-stage review process including LEAP staff, Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) partner organizations, the Capital Region Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Capital Area Michigan Works! (CAMW!) and stakeholders from a diverse variety of additional organizations and larger businesses across Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties.

Each application will be reviewed by a minimum of two reviewers.

Before applications are reviewed, we will go through a conflict of interest acknowledgement process with all reviewers to ensure that each individual will not be scoring any applications of friends, family members, business clients/customers, financially-contributing members or directly-assisted applicants in the course of contractual work. For local government or economic development staff with specific coverage or jurisdictions at the county, municipality, or sub-municipality level, such reviewers may not score applicants located in that specific geography.

Application Review Process

How are you removing favoritism and selection bias from the grant applicant selection process?

In accordance with the conflict of interest process established as part of the review process, individual reviewers will not score applications from financially-contributing members to an organization they are affiliated with. For local government or economic development staff with specific coverage or jurisdictions at the county, municipality or sub-municipality level, such reviewers may not score applicants located in that specific geography.

As examples LEAP staff will not be reviewing applications from LEAP members and LEAP staff representing city of Lansing or Ingham County contract clients will not review any applications from those specific-geographic areas associated with the government-client.

Grant Award Timeline

When will businesses or nonprofits who are selected to receive grants be notified?

The Lansing region application review process will begin once the statewide application is closed and applications are received from the MEDC. We anticipate notification occur mid-September.

When will grant funds be received by successful applicant businesses?

Grant awards will be administered by September 30.

Privacy of Applicant Information

If I apply for a grant, will my application information be made public?

The personal name and business name of every applicant will be publicly accessible. Grant awardees will be publicly announced in a coordinated fashion.