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Believe in Michigan: Supporting Small Businesses


January 19, 2022  


Believe in Michigan: Supporting Small Businesses 

Michiganders celebrate why they believe in Michigan through video series leading up to Governor Whitmer's State of the State address  

LANSING, Mich. - Leading up to the Governor's State of the State address, Gov. Whitmer's team set out to hear from Michiganders across the state on why they believe in Michigan. We'll share their thoughts each day leading up to the address in a video series.  

"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. Countless small business owners like Ali work hard every day to invest in their communities and create good-paying jobs. Together, we will help our innovative, entrepreneurial small business owners thrive and continue growing Michigan's economy." 

 Ali Rose VanOverbeke

 Meet Ali Rose VanOverbeke, owner of Genusee, a small business making eyewear in Flint, Michigan from recycled plastic water bottles as a result of the Flint Water Crisis.   

"I want my state government to focus on supporting more small businesses, providing more aid, more guidance, more relief," said Ali Rose VanOverbeke, owner of Genusee. "Because we're still in a pandemic, it's still hard for so many of us and we need more support so we can support and take even better care of our employees." 

When asked why she believes in Michigan, VanOverbeke said, "I'm most excited about a future that's inclusive and creates more access for individuals to become entrepreneurs. I most believe in the state of Michigan simply because of the people. The community here is hardworking and knows how to persevere regardless of our circumstances." 

Governor Whitmer's Focus on Small Businesses  

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.   

Additional signature accomplishments under Whitmer's administration include: 

  • 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. 

 Additional highlights of Whitmer's efforts to support small businesses can be found online. 

Visit the 2022 State of the State page for videos and more