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Support Small Businesses

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Support Small Businesses

Small businesses are job providers and are the backbone of our economy. We can transform Michigan's economic development by implementing the state's first comprehensive small business strategy that focuses on both microbusinesses and traditional economic development towards creating good and promising jobs that make Michigan's economy more resilient and equitable.

Goals and Objectives

Boost Michigan's Small Business Revenue

More than 900,000 small businesses employ 1.9 million people. COVID-19 impacted small businesses nationally and here in Michigan. These businesses offer opportunity for wealth generation for women and entrepreneurs of color. Governor Whitmer is setting a bold goal for Michigan's small businesses to have Top 10 growth during the next five years. Gov. Whitmer is tasking state government to develop Michigan's first strategy to support micro-businesses - those mom and pop shops that have less than ten people, along with creative supports for second stage businesses and other types of small businesses in order to create better jobs.

Increase Household Income by Creating Better Jobs

Governor Whitmer is putting Michigan's people and raising families' incomes at the center of economic development in Michigan. Since 2000, Michigan's per capita income has lagged the national income growth and 56% of Michigan's jobs are below the national median. Michigan is now focused on supporting the creation of jobs that have the pay and benefits to support a middle class lifestyle or provides the career pathways to that type of job in the near future. The Governor is directly addressing this issue by setting the bold goal of Michigan becoming the benchmark for economic development nationally to support good and promising job creation that will make Michigan's economy more resilient and equitable.

Grow Michigan Mainstreet


  • Achieve Top 10 state for household income growth during the next five years. (FY22-FY26)

  ↑ Achieve TOP 10 state for growth in venture capital funding over the        next five years. (FY22-FY26)

Short-Term Objectives

  • Support the creation of 7,000 good and promising jobs.
  • Deploy federal resources to boost early-stage, pre-seed, seed risk capital along with support services to boost high tech, high growth entrepreneurship. 
Why these goals matter

Create High-Wage Jobs


↑ Achieve Top 10 state for small business revenue and job growth.

Short-Term Objectives

  • Establish the small business SmartZone network.
  • Deploy the first tranche SSBCI ($176 million) and other small business supports.
Why these goals matter

Supporting Michigan's Mainstreet Businesses

MEDC’s small business support programs include International Trade, Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC), Entrepreneurship & Innovation focused on high-tech startups, and community development small business programs focused on place-based Main Street businesses, as well as support for small businesses through traditional business development incentives and capital access programs. MEDC also supports small business service providers like the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC).

Since January 2021, the MEDC and its partners have supported small businesses over 30,000 times. This includes more than 175 announced Business Development and Capital Access projects projected to create over 5,000 jobs and $1B in private investment.


MEDC launched 23 economic relief programs deploying nearly $240 million in small business relief across all 83 Michigan counties.


Businesses received critical support to keep their doors open and ensure their employees continued to receive a paycheck.


More than 200,000 jobs in the state were retained through these efforts.


In total, 41% of COVID-19 small business relief went to geographically disadvantaged areas in the state and 63% went to diverse-owned businesses.

Mainstreet Focused Support Programs

Atomic employees meet to discuss a development plan

Atomic Object

In Grand Rapids, software development company Atomic Object received critical business support early-on from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Paddles and Pedals storefront

Paddles and Peddles

Heading into March 2020, Bellaire-based outdoor tourism business, Paddles & Peddles, was in the best financial position it had ever experienced, with revenues up 40% year-over-year. 

Emergency Drive-through Screening Tent

TentCraft, Inc.

In Traverse City, TentCraft, Inc. was well-versed in creating custom prints and tents for event booths and sports arenas but had never manufactured products for the healthcare or medical industry.


Support Statements

"Ultimately, permanent changes must be implemented in order for the childcare industry to be a viable career path for early childhood professionals and small business owners." 
Danielle D. North, Owner-Operator of Kidz Kingdom

"Higher Grounds is proud to stand with Governor Whitmer and our small business community as we continue to build a local economy based in restoration and resilience."
Chris Treter, co-founder of Higher Grounds Coffee

"The small businesses that make up the heart and soul of our communities thrive on the support of individuals, other small businesses, and the administrations involved in making events like this happen."
Jon Moore, co-founder of Foster Coffee

"Small businesses, specifically micro-small businesses owned by women and POC, are the fabric of communities."  
Ali Rose van Overbeke, founder of Genusee 

Business Attraction, Development and Innovation

High Impact Business Attraction Win

With demand for power semiconductors rapidly increasing, global semiconductor wafer manufacturer SK Siltron CSS chose Michigan over competing states to expand production of much-needed silicon carbide wafers considered the future of the industry.

Business Development Project Evaluation

As part of the state's commitment to creating a more equitable and resilient economy for all, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) evolved its flagship business attraction and retention tool - the Michigan Business Development Program (MBDP) - to include stronger definitions around pathway jobs, reinforce a commitment to invest in geographically disadvantaged areas and reflect ongoing support for innovative industries across the state.

High-Growth/High-Tech Innovation

In Houghton, Orbion Space Technology is doing what no other high-tech aerospace company has done before: offering a rocket propulsion system at an affordable price for commercial satellite companies.

Key Initiative: Office of Future Mobility and Electrification

Today, the auto industry and the transportation sector at large are undergoing a period of unprecedented change. Michigan's position as a global leader in mobility and vehicle electrification will be impacted by the level of collaboration within state government. Specifically, between the state departments in charge of industry, workforce, climate solutions, the grid, infrastructure, and passenger transport. That is why Governor Whitmer created the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) to serve as a dedicated resource to create and support these collaborations.

In its first year, OFME has built dynamic public-private partnerships that support industry growth, as well as safer, more equitable and environmentally-sound transportation for all Michigan residents. OFME, through its operation of the Governor-appointed Council of Future Mobility and Electrification, has also designed responsive policy recommendations designed to ensure Michigan continues to lead the world in autonomous and electric vehicle regulatory environments. First-year wins include launching the Detroit-Ann Arbor self-driving vehicle corridor, launching the nation's first smart parking lab, and creating new grant programs to help cities alleviate local mobility and electrification barriers.

OFME Website

OFME Council Website

Key Proposals for Michigan Mainstreet Business

Governor Whitmer has proposed the Michigan Mainstreet Initiative which has three programs to provide capital and services support to locally-owned small businesses, the lifeblood of Michigan's communities.

Michigan Microenterprise Support Initiative

$125 million to provide grants for businesses that did not qualify or apply for other incentives, like the federal Paycheck Protection Program. 

Michigan Small Business Restart Program

$100 million to help restaurants and other place-based businesses cover costs by providing grants up to $20,000 for mortgage, rent, taxes, payroll and other operating expenses.

Michigan Small Business SmartZones and Business Accelerator and Resiliency Initiative

$75 million to provide grants to startups that can help our communities thrive. 

Key Proposals for Creating Better Jobs

Michigan has three proposals that will support better job creation - one that supports Michigan's transition into the electric vehicle industry, one that invests in shoring up its startup ecosystem and one that builds capacity to attract talent and scales up successful programming to retain STEM talent.

Michigan EV Friendliness Program

The $40 million EV friendliness investment would ramp up electric vehicle adoption and industry leadership.

Startup Resiliency Initiative

Strong Michigan venture firms are a critical factor in the success of Michigan startups. Venture-backed companies create roughly 10% of new jobs nationally.

Talent Attraction and Retention Program

To address the COVID-amplified challenge of labor force demand-supply mismatches, this investment takes a two-prong approach to attract and retain talent.