We’ve spoken with a number of executives in the past 3 months who are responding to COVID-19 for their big tech business or small startup, and we noticed some trends in how businesses are responding to the pandemic. Quite a few people from virtual panel attendees to readers to interviewees have asked Cronicle questions about what we’re seeing in our interviews with Midwest Tech. It’s the million-dollar question: what’s next? How are businesses coping, and how does that impact their workers and public health? Here are the top trends we’ve noticed behind the scenes in Midwest tech in our interviews from manufacturers and scientists pivoting to produce PPE to tech startups creating new software for public health initiatives. All of this is based in our limited interview time and virtual networking, not an official survey. Here are, in order that they appeared, the behind the scenes trends we’ve noticed in Midwest tech businesses responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
Michigan’s business analysis firm EntryPoint has just released the Washtenaw County COVID-19 Business Impact Report to help business owners and investors examine the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on local business and investment. For startups and tech businesses looking at the business landscape, here’s what you’ll learn:
Research labs have been shut down. Small businesses are searching for funding. But it’s not all bad news in the emerging tech hubs of the Midwest. Especially in hard-hit Michigan, the structure is in place to allow some startups to do quite well during challenging times. We went in to a few interviews of Midwest tech companies and startup coaches thinking they would help us pay forward resources to startup founders to get through these hard times. In addition to resources, they had some good news.
With everything going on in the world, what is happening to business funding in the Midwest, which only recently climbed out of the hole caused by manufacturing decline and economic collapse? Guy Turner, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Chicago’s Hyde Park Ventures has been in investing for years. “Myself and one partner created Hyde Park nine years ago,” Turner said from his office several weeks ago in Chicago, where he was sheltering with the door closed to avoid exposing colleagues to COVID-19 while work life continued as best it could. “We ran Hyde Park Angels,” he explains of the group’s origins in angel investing. “We recognized there were very few early stage funds working with zero to $1.5 million in revenue before coastal funds would be interested. In 2011 we raised our first fund,” he said.
Today, the Michigan Venture Capital Association released its annual research report on the state of venture capital in Michigan. As with other recently published reports on the state of business investment, the MVCA Research Report show record-breaking investment in the recovering state’s new business ecosystem, followed by challenges brought by COVID-19.
The Whitmer Administration has announced that businesses across Michigan are now able to apply for $349 billion in Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II was joined by former Lt. Governor, and current president of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) Brian Calley and Bob Doyle, president and CEO of the Michigan Association of CPAs, in launching a new statewide website, MIpaycheckprotection.com, to provide businesses with key resources to assist with the PPP application and loan process and ensure the greatest amount of federal funding is able to be used by small businesses for economic relief efforts throughout the state.
Lansing Region LEAP Emergency Small Business Relief Grant Applications Now Open To Mid-Michigan Businesses
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.