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2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Supporting Small Businesses


December 27, 2021 


2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Supporting Small Businesses 

Governor Whitmer counts down to 2022 by highlighting administration's progress on 10 kitchen-table issues that makes a difference in people's lives 

LANSING, Mich. - The Whitmer-Gilchrist administration is counting down the last 10 days of 2021 by celebrating Michigan's progress on 10 fundamental kitchen-table issues. Today we celebrate progress Michigan has made on supporting small business.  

"Small businesses form the backbone of our economy and are cornerstones of so many communities across our state," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "As we usher in a new era of prosperity for Michigan, I am committed to ensuring small businesses can thrive. We will build on the bipartisan support we delivered for small businesses through COVID, including the 23 economic relief programs we set up supporting more than 25,000 businesses and retaining more than 200,000 jobs." 

Getting Things Done 

Governor Whitmer is committed to supporting small businesses as Michigan emerges from the pandemic and ushers in a new era of prosperity. Through COVID, the state implemented 23 economic relief programs for businesses, supporting more than 25,000 companies and retaining more than 200,000 jobs. Now, Governor Whitmer is dedicated to helping small businesses navigate existing programs and services available to help them recover and thrive for years to come. Recently, the governor laid out a $2.1 billion proposal to grow Michigan's middle class, support small businesses, and invest in communities by tackling several underlying issues. As Michigan's economic jumpstart continues, bolstered by a strong GDP, and a historic surplus, Governor Whitmer's proposals will tackle underlying issues faced by small businesses and take advantage of the massive influx of federal resources Michigan has received to deliver meaningful change that makes a real difference for small businesses and Michigan workers.  

Key Numbers 

  • Ushered in 7.6% GDP growth, the best in the Midwest in Q1 of 2021 and 8.3% GDP growth, best in the Midwest again and third-best nationwide in Q2. 
  • Took Michigan from a projected $3 billion deficit to a $3.5 billion surplus. 
  • Launched 23 economic relief programs providing over $240 million in vital economic support to small businesses across all 83 Michigan counties. The programs supported over 25,000 companies and retained over 200,000 jobs with nearly 75% of support going to restaurants, bars, retailers and other service industry small businesses.   
  • Saved 52,500 jobs by providing grants to 6,000 small businesses. 
  • Provided $100 million through the Small Business Restart Program 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. 


  • Set up free virtual job fairs connecting over 2,600 employers and 9,900 job seekers. 

Looking Ahead 

Governor Whitmer laid out the?$2.1 billion MI New Economy plan to?grow Michigan's middle class, support small businesses, and invest in communities. It includes $651 million to support small businesses and create better jobs. Those funds would go towards delivering grants to small businesses, creating a more conducive business environment for high-tech, high-growth start-ups, preparing?manufacturers and the workforce for opportunities of the future, and more. 

Additional small business accomplishments can be found here. 

"We appreciate the Governor's leadership and partnership, including with the legislature and local economic development organizations, to quickly advance the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve legislation," said Marty Fittante, CEO of InvestUP. "This legislation provides an important opportunity for the Upper Peninsula, including significant local industries like our extraction, manufacturing and research sectors. The fact that this action followed the Ford relocation decision so quickly is no surprise. It was that same decisive action that the Governor took in the early days of the pandemic in entrusting us locally with millions of difference-making dollars in grant funding for the benefit of the Upper Peninsula's small business community - an investment which continues to pay dividends today for the economic wellbeing of the entire region and state." 

"Although there have been many important bipartisan accomplishments in 2021, we are especially appreciative of the work that was done to deposit $150 million into the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund, the 100% employer-financed fund that pays benefits to workers who are unemployed due to no fault of their own," said Wendy Block, Vice President of Business Advocacy and Member Engagement for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. "The COVID pandemic created a tremendous amount of universal stress, including on the UI Trust Fund and our job providers as they struggled to stay afloat and protect their employees. This deposit helps ensure adequate benefits for workers and avoids a crippling insolvency of the fund and the need for higher UI taxes on Michigan businesses." 

"Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices has appreciated working with Governor Whitmer's administration on several initiatives to support the small business community in Michigan and has greatly valued being a part of policy development and small business site visits." Said Janetta King, Midwest Regional Director for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices. "We are encouraged that the Governor is continuing to prioritize small business recovery and growth with new, forward-looking economic proposals."  

"Debora Smith Energy Partners has gained much of our success with the help of state of Michigan sponsored programs. We have worked closely with Michigan's SBDC and MEDC connecting us with a wonderful Michigan based lender to establish a line of credit and obtain a commercial mortgage. We would not be in our own building shipping close to $1 Million in products this year without that support." Said Debora Smith President of Debora Smith Energy Partners. "Michigan's support of small businesses has been tremendous.  We've seen other small business friends and neighbors receive financial grants helping them weather the COVID-19 crisis, possibly unable to re-open without those funds."