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Ingham County Sunrise Grant Program Awards $1.5M in Impact Grants, Focus on Long-Term Countywide Economic Repair and Growth

Grants to Increase Childcare Capacity, Stabilize Areas of Most Severe Economic Harm and Increase Support for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs and Business-Owners

Today, the Ingham County Board of Commissioners and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) announced $1,520,000 in Ingham County Sunrise Small Business Grant Program Impact Grants to 17 organizations, finalizing the program’s grant distribution. The Impact Grants include 11 childcare impact grants, three community economic impact grants and three business incubator impact grants. These awards add to the $6,600,000 in grant funds awarded by LEAP and Ingham County since the Sunrise Grant application closed July 31, 2021, focusing on increasing childcare capacity, stabilizing severe economic disruption and growing entrepreneurship and business ownership within underrepresented communities.

“Ingham County is proud to provide these impactful grants aimed at stabilizing and growing the county’s current and future economy. The county also recognizes the impact these grants will have on the broader regional economy, which is vital for all county residents,” said Ingham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bryan Crenshaw. “Thank you to LEAP for continuing to provide vital assistance to distribute the county’s ARPA funds where they are needed the most.”

Access to high-quality, affordable child care continues to plague working parents, particularly women and women of color, forced to leave the workforce to care for children due to COVID-19. The recent Economic Impact Analysis of COVID-19 in the Greater Lansing Region commissioned by the Tri-County Planning Commission highlights nearly 9,000 children in the Lansing Region were displaced from care during COVID-19, exacerbating a pre-existing childcare gap in the region. These childcare impact grants will serve an additional 412 children to reduce this gap.

“Each of these Impact Grants will boost an area of the economy crucial for the long-term sustainable economic recovery of Ingham County and the entire Lansing region,” said Bob Trezise, president & CEO of LEAP. “In particular, lack of affordable, quality child care continues to hamper efforts to gear up the regional economy from all directions. Childcare is a significant issue that impacts household wages, business growth and entrepreneurship. These impact grants will provide some relief and opportunity for many to move forward into a more stable 2022.”

Community economic impact grants will address areas of the regional economy facing the most severe, lingering and disproportionate economic harm caused by COVID-19. Grants will focus on the events and tourism supply chain, which is at risk of collapse without additional support, downtown Lansing which is experiencing the highest vacancy rate ever recorded and the most dramatic drop in vacancy anywhere in the region during the pandemic and south Lansing, which continues to have the highest vacancy rate in the region.

The performance-based, capacity-building Incubator Impact Grants will help 110 new entrepreneurs pursue business ideas and will assist incubators in increasing staff capacity and improving their facilities to serve the unique needs of entrepreneurs and startups from across the region at various stages of development. Over the two-year grant period, these grants are expected to collectively generate $3.4M in new revenue and $1.6M in private investment. Given the early business lifecycle is the riskiest time for entrepreneurs and small-business owners, and the reality that underrepresented populations, including Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), women, veterans, people with disabilities and people who are LGBTQ+, lack access to the funds, these incubator grants will build a new ecosystem of business startups throughout the Ingham County region, with at least 51% of new entrepreneurs served from underrepresented populations.

The Ingham Sunrise Grant Program also includes longer-term technical assistance for succession planning and to establish a new revolving loan fund under the Ingham County Economic Development Corporation. These new programs are expected to launch in spring 2022.

Distribution details for awarded categories and all program documentation, including the application review process and scoring criteria, are available on the Sunrise Grant portal.