Detroit Regional Chamber > Chamber > Detroit Means Business Awarded $9 Million to Aid Pandemic-impacted Small Businesses

Detroit Means Business Awarded $9 Million to Aid Pandemic-impacted Small Businesses

August 5, 2022

Crain’s Detroit
Anna Fifelski
Aug. 4, 2022

Small businesses in Detroit that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have another opportunity for financial and technical assistance as part of a new $9 million initiative.

Last week, City Council allocated the federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to Detroit Means Business (DMB), a small business service initiative housed within the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC).

DMB will receive $2 million for loans and grants, $3 million in small business debt pay-down assistance and $2 million in direct small business support. The additional $2 million will be allocated toward additional program staffing and administration services over the three-year project period, DEGC President and CEO Kevin Johnson said in a news release.

Businesses may also be eligible to receive non-financial, technical support, said Amanda Hanlin, the DEGC’s chief of staff.

“So that would include things like mentoring, coaching, support in developing strategy or digital platforms, a lot of direct service provision to the businesses, rather than a direct grant or a direct loan,” she said.

Logistics of the application process have not yet been determined, Hanlin said.

“Since we were just awarded the funding, we don’t have program criteria developed yet,” she said. “We have until the end of 2022 to actually develop and implement these individual programs.”

Detroit Means Business was created early in 2020 to provide technical support and connections to financial resources to small businesses struggling to survive the pandemic, though many of the problems small businesses see have persisted beyond the initial crisis, Hanlin said.

“We are incredibly excited about this opportunity,” she said. “This is really the type of funding that allows us to make Detroit Means Business a permanent part of the landscape here, and that’s huge… I think it’s really important to see that there is a priority that’s being placed on small businesses, because I mean, truly, they’re the backbones of our neighborhoods.”