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RELEASE: Governor Whitmer Tours Small Business in Traverse City to Highlight Small Business Support Efforts as Michigan Gets Back to Work


August 5, 2021  


RELEASE: Governor Whitmer Tours Small Business in Traverse City to Highlight Small Business Support Efforts as Michigan Gets Back to Work 


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer toured Higher Grounds Coffee in Traverse City following remarks at the Traverse City regional Small Business Summit, which brought together small business owners, advocates, support organizations and lenders from North 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. 


"The pandemic created unprecedented challenges, especially for our hospitality and restaurant industry, and it's critical we do all we can to offer these businesses resources and support as part of our economic jumpstart," said Governor Whitmer. "By working together, we can stay laser-focused on ensuring small businesses boom as we continue getting Michiganders back to work and delivering meaningful change that makes a real difference in people's lives right now." 


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 Traverse City is part of the Governor's MI Small Business Summer tour following June'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 Northern Michigan and throughout the state," 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 of?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 71 percent of Traverse City businesses having less than 10 employees, while 63 percent of Grand Rapids and Lansing businesses having less than 10 employees and 70 percent and 72 percent of Marquette and Detroit small businesses, respectively, having less than 10 employees.  


"Traverse Connect appreciates Governor Whitmer and Mr. Messer joining us in Traverse City as part of the MI Small Business Summer Tour to listen to our region's small business community," said Warren M. Call, president and CEO of Traverse Connect. "Supporting Traverse City's thriving small businesses is essential for improving our region's economic vitality and for strengthening our entrepreneurial ecosystem, attracting entrepreneurial talent, helping our second-stage businesses grow, and offering an attractive environment for business expansion and relocation."  


"Small business owners and entrepreneurs are the risk-takers that fuel our state's economy, and after the past year especially, they deserve the types of programs and policies that reflect their unique concerns and offer opportunities for success," said Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO of the MEDC. "Under the leadership of our chief economic development officers Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist, we are staying laser-focused on expanding access to capital, affording chances for mentoring and offering technical assistance to help each and every business in Michigan - regardless of their size - find their home for opportunity here in our great state." 


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. 


"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," said Chris Treter, co-founder of Higher Grounds Coffee. "It's time that people, place, and planet are made central to our definition of a thriving economy to build a legacy that can last for centuries." 


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






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