LANSING, Mich. (Mar. 19, 2020) – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the availability of emergency relief funding for small businesses this morning, as fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit small businesses and hourly workers particularly hard.
Ann Arbor SPARK is emerging tech hub Ann Arbor’s premier small business support organization and new business incubator. We connected with their marketing director Jenn Queen to ask about any resources they’re publicizing for the greater Ann Arbor area and Michigan businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Ann Arbor SPARK has shut down its local offices to protect workers, but already has an extensive list of informational and business support resources for businesses planning for these changing times, and has more programming in the works aimed at supporting small businesses in partnership with the state of Michigan. More on that in the coming weeks as details are available. For now, we list the resources listed through Ann Arbor SPARK here for your convenience, but please visit Ann Arbor SPARK’s website for updates as this is a quickly evolving situation for individuals and businesses alike. Be well.
LANSING, MICH. The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity today provided guidance to Michigan employers on how to avoid potential layoffs related to COVID-19.
“We know that many families and businesses are and will experience economic pain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said LEO Director Jeff Donofrio. “Through Governor Whitmer’s executive action and existing state programs, there are resources for employers affected by COVID-19. We are also strongly urging job providers facing work shortages to place their employees on temporary leave as opposed to termination, so that they may remain eligible for potential federal assistance.”
University of Michigan startup Arbor Biosciences announced this afternoon that it is providing free kits to capture the genetic code of virus samples for researchers working on COVID-19 sequencing. According to a press release sent out by the University of Mchigan, “variations in the virus’s genetic code reveal how the virus has morphed over time—for instance, enabling it to change from an animal disease to one that can be passed from one human to another. The information could help shed light on how the genes of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, cause the symptoms of the disease COVID-19. But more important in the long run, it could help reveal the factors that enabled the virus to become infectious in humans.”
It goes without saying that it has been a hard week globally and that includes in Michigan, for professionals and families scrambling to adjust to new circumstances hoping to curb the spread of COVID-19. With that in mind, we will be highlighting a number of online and remote options for connecting with tech communities around the Great Lakes as we continue our reporting on news and networking opportunities in Midwest tech.
We hope that this week finds you healthy and safe. We in Ann Arbor are now in the beginnings of a coronavirus outbreak with 3 confirmed cases in Washtenaw County and 16 in Michigan as of March 13, 2020–likely many more to come and hundreds referred for monitoring and assessment. A recent list of possible exposure locations in southeast Michigan may be useful to you as you assess your possible exposure to the virus.
The third annual University of Michigan Data for Public Good Symposium, which runs 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020 in Ann Arbor, will feature presentations on ways in which students, faculty, staff and community members have worked together to analyze and assess data to benefit others. The event includes a presentation by industry partner Data Driven Detroit, which provides accessible high-quality information and analysis to nonprofit organizations, foundations, universities, and businesses to support data-driven decision-making in the city.
A continuing problem in an emerging tech and startup hub like southeast Michigan is lagging funding, but many venture capital firms spread resources farther than regional focus and invest in ventures when they’re already producing revenue. That’s not when most ventures need the most help. Invest Detroit, or ID Ventures, is a venture capital team that provides investment to startup companies in the Detroit and greater Michigan region in the seed stage. We hear a lot at Cronicle Press that VCs often don’t like to restrict their investments too regionally, which further dilutes access to limited capital in the Great Lakes area, but ID Ventures focuses on Detroit and is the company behind the launch of successful Detroit startups Bloomscape, and northern Michigan’s Orbion, and Airspace Link.
Thank you to everyone who has interviewed with Cronicle Press Tech News over the last 9 months since our launch out of Ann Arbor. We’re now putting together a series on growing tech industries around the broader Great Lakes region. If you have a growing tech company, incubator you’re getting started, or new fund to announce, we want to hear from you, and we want to hear the story of your community.
It’s 2020, and as part of Cronicle’s expansion across the unique and natural resource-rich Great Lakes region, we will be covering more technology that helps address climate change. If you have a tech company or tech-enabled startup that is helping to address climate change, please contact the editor to be featured on Cronicle Press Tech News in the coming months.