LANSING, Mich. (Mar. 26, 2020) – Yesterday, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) successfully secured $600,000 from the MEDC’s Small Business Relief Program to issue 60 $10,000 grants to small businesses across Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties that are suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michigan’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 virus can now apply for grants and loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program. The program will provide up to $20 million in grants and loans to provide economic assistance to Michigan’s small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus, and in turn help support workers and their families facing economic uncertainty during the outbreak. Information on how to apply, as well as eligibility criteria, is available at www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19.
Small businesses in Washtenaw County have another option to help bridge the coronavirus crisis: Ann Arbor SPARK has just announced the new Washtenaw Small Business Resiliency Fund. We spoke with SPARK Chief of Staff Phil Santer to get the details on this new financing option to help struggling businesses in the Ann Arbor area and surrounding regions.
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.
Brandon Marken is co-founder and CEO of Lean Rocket Lab, a tech incubator in Jackson, Michigan, that focuses on helping new founders with an idea for a manufacturing business or product go from 0 to 60. Lean Rocket Lab has a generous open-door policy to help new entrepreneurs with a business idea walk in with a business idea, whether it’s well-formed or early stage, and be given some guidance and mentorship and connection with professionals who can help them build into a successful business. Now Lean Rocket Lab is launching a new accelerator program in the advanced manufacturing space, to bring together more new businesses on the tech side of manufacturing with Jackson Michigan’s global hub of hundreds of manufacturing companies to help new manufactured products get out into the world.
Incubator programs are the newest way to get a business off the ground. They offer mentorship, free rent on office space, guidance through customer discovery or clinical trials and securing early funding. Who wouldn’t want that kind of help through fragile early stages of building a company? But incubators don’t all work the same. We’ve been pitched lately with everything from revenue sharing to rapid cycle business development processes and realized that there is a broadening landscape out there of what an incubator or accelerator really is.
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.
Emily Heintz has been featured in Forbes Magazine, Axios, and VentureBeat. She was also named to Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 List. Heintz is the founder and managing director of EntryPoint, a research firm that specializes in conducting research and compiling reports on the state of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Michigan. Heintz founded EntryPoint several years ago, but previously worked to support the growth of the Michigan entrepreneurial community through the Michigan Venture Capital Association, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and Ann Arbor SPARK. Why all this news coverage of her work? Heintz founded EntryPoint just as Michigan’s economy was undergoing major shifts toward more of an entrepreneurial economy.
“We recently closed on $17 million in funding, reinforcing our commitment to the wind industry,” says Danny Ellis, CEO of SkySpecs, a sustainable energy company in Ann Arbor that uses drones to inspect wind turbines. “We’ve doubled down our focus on the wind industry.”