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New program for Michigan small businesses aims to offset the economic effects of COVID

The Small Business Support Hubs program, announced this week, will offer grant opportunities and physical resource centers for entrepreneurs. Lawmakers allocated $75 million for the program from the American Rescue Plan Act, to support small businesses disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amy Rencher is the Senior Vice President of Small Business Services at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

She says the hubs will differ, depending on the needs of local business communities and describes them as places entrepreneurs can get technical assistance, ask questions, and network with other business owners.

“Part of investing in the state's ecosystem and cultivating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship here, means that we're addressing the whole entrepreneur,” Rencher said.

$65 million of the allocated money will go towards creating these support hubs and will invest in a variety of business support systems. $10 million of the allocated money will be accessible to small businesses through new grant programs, administered by the hubs. Applications for the program will open on July 10th and will close on September 8th.

“This is an investment into the infrastructure, into small business owners who are still hurting . There's new businesses that have come up as a means to how our life has changed because of COVID,” Rencher said.

Rencher says small businesses are an important part of Michigan's economy and job growth.

In a press release, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the program will position small businesses to "grow and create good jobs across Michigan."

Taylor Bowie is a senior studying English Literature at the University of Michigan and an intern in the Michigan Radio newsroom. She is originally from Owosso, Michigan.
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