Over 1 million for Michigan businesses
Michigan Women Forward (MWF) is the only public, statewide organization devoted to the economic and personal well-being of Michigan women and girls. Its programs focus on funding women-owned small businesses, empowering middle and high school age girls, and seeing that justice is carried out for sexual assault survivors.
As Michigan struggles through the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, MWF’s goals have focused largely on supporting businesses that were significantly impacted, but who were unable to receive traditional funding. In May, they created the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund with an initial $1.5 million in grants and loans funded through a partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Small Business Administration, New Economy Initiative, Consumers Energy Foundation and others.
This fund is to service individuals who are low to moderate income or from marginalized communities. This fund provides both $1,000 to $5,000 grants to assist with reopening or revamping business models or $5,000 to $10,000 microloans with a one- to three-year repayment period with an 8.0% APR fixed rate. MWF closed grant application on July 8, but plans to accept loan applications through the end of the month with the option of providing additional grants later in the year.
Businesses that qualify for a grant or loan must have generated revenue for at least 12 months; demonstrate how COVID-19 has impacted their businesses; have fewer than 50 employees; are unable to secure a loan from a bank or credit union; and earn less than $500,000 in annual revenue. Funds can be used to pay rent, make payroll, purchase inventory and more.
To date MWF has awarded $679,550 through 154 grants from a pool of over 11,200 applicants in West Michigan and across the state. So far, 40 microloans (and counting) have been granted, totaling $322,500.
Even once the checks are all cut, MWF plans to continue the hard work. They plan to follow up with each recipient on a quarterly basis and offer additional support as needed, as funding is only one obstacle for these entreupenuers. As such, MWF plans to invite these business owners to partner with local experts who can help answer their questions and mentor them during this critical time.
To learn more about this program and the others offered by MWF, join them vitually for their WomanUp & Celebrate Women of Achievement and Courage Awards in Kalamazoo on September 30. You can learn more about the MWF at their website www.miwf.org.