As more manufacturers rapidly shift their operations to produce critical health and human service supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the state is offering new funding to help offset the cost of retooling.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s (MEDC) Pure Michigan Business Connect program has launched a new grant program that will provide a total of $1 million in grants to manufacturers in the state looking to retool and produce medical supplies that are in short supply due to the pandemic.
The retooling grants program will provide immediate assistance to small businesses around the state who are ready to “step up and use their manufacturing know-how” to support recovery efforts during the crisis, according to MEDC CEO Mark Burton.
“Michigan has the manufacturing strength, innovation and determination to lead the charge in establishing an ‘arsenal of health’ to address the shortage of critical supplies we are facing as a result of the COVID-19 virus,” Burton said in a statement.
The program will award grants of $10,000 to $150,000 to companies that can quickly and effectively manufacture critical health and human service supplies like masks, gowns and ventilators.
Michigan small businesses — per U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards — and established nonprofits are eligible to apply. Businesses can use the funds to support the purchase of equipment necessary to manufacture critical supplies, logistics and shipping costs of procuring necessary equipment, technology upgrades and other costs related to new product lines.
While the program does not guarantee sales channels, the Pure Michigan Business Connect team will also assist grantees by connecting them with demand identified through the COVID-19 Virtual Procurement and Donation Assistance portal, according to the organization. The portal is a free, virtual procurement and donation platform that provides health and human service providers direct access to businesses within the state that can provide supplies like personal protection equipment, food, medical devices, paper products and cleaning equipment.
The platform is also a place for companies with manufacturing capabilities for personal protection equipment to indicate which items they are able to produce, along with quantity and timing detail.