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Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II Tours Small Business in Grand Rapids to Highlight Small Business Support Efforts as Michigan Gets Back to Work


July 19, 2021  


Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II Tours Small Business in Grand Rapids to Highlight Small Business Support Efforts as Michigan Gets Back to Work 


LANSING, Mich. - Today, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II toured GRNoir Wine & Jazz in Grand Rapids following remarks at the Grand Rapids regional Small Business Summit, which brought together small business owners, advocates, support organizations and lenders from West Michigan as part of a statewide effort to inform a comprehensive strategy for small business investment in Michigan.  


Support for small businesses represents a key component of the administration's Economic Jumpstart Plan which would allocate millions in federal relief funding to support and invest in working people in Michigan. 


"We have a generational opportunity before us to create significant, lasting impacts on Michigan families and businesses and we know that we will only be truly successful in doing so if we work together as one Michigan to get the job done," said Lt. Governor Gilchrist"As we put Michiganders back to work, it remains imperative that we stand tall for small businesses across Michigan by continuing to provide the supports needed to help them recover from COVID-19 and boost our economic jumpstart throughout the state." 


With additional state revenues expected following last month's Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference and incoming federal funding that includes $2 billion in remaining CARES Act funding, nearly $6.5 billion in flexible funding through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), $176 million in federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funds, and $1.4 billion in federal child care funding Michigan is in a strong position to make the investments that can transform the landscape for small businesses and help both residents and businesses recover from the pandemic.  


Today's summit in Grand Rapids is the second of four regional summits following last month's virtual Small Business Summit hosted by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation meant to inform a comprehensive strategy for small business investment in Michigan. 


"After the challenges and setbacks small businesses and the workforce faced during the pandemic, these conversations are just the beginning to address the unique needs of employers in West Michigan," said?Susan Corbin, acting director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. "I look forward to participating, actively listening and strategizing with our business partners, local officials, community organizations and lenders in future events this summer. By working together and bringing a diverse set a?voices?around the table, we can continue to jumpstart the economy and get Michigan back to work" 


A recent survey conducted by New Economy Initiative found 86 percent of microbusinesses, or those with less than 10 employees, reported being negatively impacted by the pandemic and 77 percent stated capital was their most significant need. The impact of small businesses on the economy is felt throughout the state, with 63 percent of Grand Rapids and Lansing businesses having less than 10 employees, while 70 percent, 71 percent and 72 percent of Marquette, Traverse City and Detroit businesses, respectively, have less than 10 employees. 


"With the influx of federal dollars coming to our state, this is an opportunity to create unprecedented access to capital for micro-enterprises and disadvantaged small businesses," said Jamiel Robinson, 

founder and CEO of Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses. "From reports and studies, we know minority-owned businesses received very little relief grants and PPP loans. This is an opportunity to further support the recovery of businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. It's also an opportunity to make transformational investments in businesses that make our neighborhoods vibrant and great." 


Through the administration's Economic Jumpstart Plan, the state is helping people go back to work and support their families while giving them the peace of mind to know that their children are safe and learning. Critical to that approach is the administration's focus on supporting small businesses by providing access to available, affordable childcare along with strong benefits to encourage families to utilize expanded childcare options as Michigan's recovery picks up steam. 


Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist also sent a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration urging it to consider alternative resources to support restaurants with minority, women and veteran owners following the court rulings in Texas and Tennessee around the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. These small businesses, especially, were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and are a vital part of Michigan's economic jumpstart moving forward. 


"If Michigan, and Grand Rapids, is truly committed to taking advantage of this historic moment, then supporting microbusinesses, or those with less than 10 employees, particularly microbusinesses of color must be an intentional focus, with effective strategies and impact," said Shatawn and Nadia Brigham, owners of GRNoir Wine & Jazz. "This includes not just capital, but ways for us to support thriving wages, health insurance, and sustainability for our businesses." 


For more information on the small business summits and support for small businesses visit 


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