More than 1,600 Applications Received for $5.5 Million in Federally Funded Restart Grants from LEAP

Small Businesses and Nonprofits Across Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties Seek Help to Address COVID-19 Related Financial Hardship

Following the Aug. 5, 2020, closing of the statewide Michigan Small Business Restart Program grant application, created and managed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), 1,640 eligible applications from small businesses and nonprofits across Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties are set to be reviewed by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). A multistage, multientity review process designed to minimize bias and ensure a minimum of 30 percent of regional funds ($1,590,000) are awarded to minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses, as well as address an appropriate distribution of funds across the three-county region, is now underway.

“LEAP has been working relentlessly over the past month, along with our diversity, equity and inclusion partners and regional economic development partners, to reach and help local small businesses and nonprofits apply for these critical grant funds. We are adamant about equitable distribution of these funds in our region,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP.

To meet regional needs and state requirements, LEAP staff, approximately 70 regional economic development partners and a large group of local diversity, equity and inclusion partner organizations, together by consensus, determined the funding distribution and related review criteria and process for the Lansing region restart grant program, including identifying three grant categories: microbusinesses, traditional small businesses and nonprofits.

Of the applications received, 65 percent of applications were submitted by minority- (36 percent), women- (46 percent) and veteran-owned (five percent) businesses, underserved populations identified by the state as priority businesses. Additionally, 67 percent of applications fall within the microbusiness grant category (1-9 paid employees/workers), 22 percent in the traditional small business category (10-50 paid employees/workers) and 11 percent nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees/workers. The regional distribution of applications closely mirrors distribution of private business across the region with 9 percent from Clinton county, 17 percent from Eaton county and 74 percent from Ingham county.

Funding distribution among the three grant categories was initially suggested to provide 77 $10,000 grants to nonprofit organizations, 200 $10,000 grants to microbusinesses and 125 $20,000 grants to traditional small businesses. Based on an initial review of the nonprofit applications received, it is clear many of those applicants may find it difficult to expend the full $10,000 grant. Therefore, two award tiers have been established within the nonprofit grant category, which will provide for 77 total grants to nonprofits of either $5,000 or $10,000 based on expressed need. Additionally, this allows for a potential shift of funds toward the high-demand microbusiness category which comprises 67 percent of all grant applications.

The two-stage application review process, including a thorough conflict of interest removal step and two independent reviews of each individual application, will take place Aug. 7-Sept. 21, involving 60 reviewers including LEAP staff, 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 local partner organizations from across the region.

“This is an enormous organizational task, which LEAP is proud to lead, but it can only be accomplished with the crucial partnership of the MEDC, the financial and expert support of LEAP members and the many local partners and organizations involved in this review process,” said Trezise. “Additionally, while we continue to be grateful for these generous federal funds made available to our region by the state legislature, Governor Whitmer and the MEDC, we are fully aware that the need for support within our small-business community once again greatly eclipses the amount of funds available. An improvement over the mere three percent of applicants we were able to award with relief fund grants in April, we will be able to award 25 percent of this applicant pool with a grant. It’s a heartbreaking task and I wish we could fund everyone. As we did with the relief grants earlier this year, LEAP will act swiftly, ethically and with equity in mind to help as many people as possible with the funds we do have.”

All applicants will be notified via the email provided on their application regarding award status by Sept. 21, 2020. Awarded businesses will be publicly announced by Sept. 21, 2020. Funds are expected to be delivered to recipients by Sept. 30, 2020.

All Lansing region restart grant program documentation will remain available on LEAP’s website at www.purelansing.com/businessrelief.

Michigan Small Business Restart Program LEAP Lansing Region Grants Category and Demographic Breakdown

Total Number of Applications with Demographic Breakdown

1,640 eligible Lansing region applications (1,662 total applications received)

  • 1,062, or 65 percent, from underrepresented business owners
  • 747, or 46 percent* women-owned
  • 89, or five percent* veteran-owned
  • 582, or 36 percent* minority-owned
    • 345, or 21 percent* Black-owned
    • 83, or five percent* Hispanic-owned
    • 106, or seven percent* Asian-owned
    • 60, or four percent* Arab-owned
    • 15, or one percent* Indigenous-owned

* percent of total eligible applications received

Geographic Distribution of Applicants

  • 1,208, or 74 percent with primary business location in Ingham
  • 286, or 17 percent with primary business location in Eaton
  • 146, or 9 percent with primary business location in Clinton

Grant Categories

  • 1,093, or 67 percent of eligible applicants, are microbusinesses
    • Within microbusinesses, 787, or 71 percent, are underrepresented business owners
      • 556, or 51 percent* are women-owned
      • 60, or six percent* are veteran-owned
      • 429, or 39 percent* are minority-owned
        • 262, or 24 percent* Black-owned
        • 59, or five percent* Hispanic-owned
        • 75, or seven percent* Asian-owned
        • 36, or three percent* Arab-owned
        • 10, or one percent* Indigenous-owned
    • 98 in Clinton* (9%)
    • 203 in Eaton* (19%)
    • 792 in Ingham* (73%)
  • 368, or 22 percent of eligible applicants, are traditional small businesses
    • Within traditional small businesses, 218, or 59 percent, are underrepresented business owners
      • 143, or 39 percent** women-owned
      • 22, or six percent** veteran-owned
      • 112, or 30 percent** minority-owned
        • 48, or 13 percent** Black-owned
        • 13, or four percent** Hispanic-owned
        • 30, or eight percent** Asian-owned
        • 22, or six percent** Arab-owned
        • 3, or one percent** Indigenous-owned
      • 38, or 10 percent** in Clinton
      • 59, or 16 percent** in Eaton
      • 271, or 74 percent** in Ingham
  • 179, or 11 percent of eligible applicants, are nonprofits
    • 10, or six percent*** in Clinton
    • 24, or 13 percent*** in Eaton
    • 145, or 81 percent*** in Ingham

* percent of total eligible microbusiness applications received
** percent of total eligible traditional small business applications received
*** percent of total eligible nonprofit applications received

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About LEAP
The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all–working every day to grow, retain and attract business to the Lansing, Michigan, region.