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Small Business

SPONSORED BY SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN

GRAND RAPIDS— Safety training company TrainMOR saw business come to a screeching halt last spring when the COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions to the general industrial clients that it serves.

The Biden administration on Monday announced a series of changes to the Paycheck Protection Program that are aimed at improving access to federal COVID-19 relief loans for small and minority-owned businesses.

Max Friar, managing partner at Grand Rapids-based M&A firm Calder Capital LLC, routinely found his company passing on potential clients because of the size of their businesses.

Working in the wedding industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread restrictions on large gatherings has been stressful for Jennifer Elenbaas.

Tami VandenBerg successfully applied for the first round of federal Paycheck Protection Program loans for her small businesses in 2020.

KALAMAZOO — As she connected with businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, long-time professional recruiter Sheri Welsh noticed that HR departments were becoming largely depleted as the economic slowdown decimated many industries.

As clients began reaching out in recent weeks to gather documents and apply for forgiveness of their federal Paycheck Protection Program loans from last year, executives at Level One Bank urged them to wait. 

Robin Burns took over as head of the Grand Rapids-based Family Business Alliance in November after nearly 12 years as marketing director at the Rhoades McKee law firm in Grand Rapids. The FBA was created in 2006 as a partnership with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and Grand Valley State University and later reorganized as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit. With more than 150 member companies, the FBA’s mission is to ensure family-owned businesses in the region are passed down to future generations. Burns spoke with MiBiz about what’s next for the organization.

Michigan small businesses were approved for more than $1.5 billion in federal loans during the first two weeks of the new Paycheck Protection Program the U.S. Small Business Administration launched earlier this month.

The new round of federal Paycheck Protection Program loans includes a number of changes from the prior funding intended to aid small businesses hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPRING LAKE — It has been nearly a year since Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake had a crowd of people packed together for a live music performance, but owners Gary and Michelle Hanks hope to see shows return in some capacity in 2021. 

SPARTA TOWNSHIP — Stoney Ridge Winery LLC officially opened in June 2020 after a few soft opening events at the start of the pandemic.

GRAND HAVEN — A West Michigan-based company that developed a patented ultraviolet light technology to kill off pathogens on surfaces and in the air will see its technology deployed in select McDonald’s restaurants.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. plans to open applications next week for the $58.5 million in grant funding to aid small businesses and entertainment venues that were closed or curtailed by the most recent state-ordered restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Small Business Administration begins taking applications next week for the new round of forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans to aid small businesses ailing from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has let legislation die that would have waived late fees and fines on businesses that have yet to pay their summer 2020 property taxes.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a driving force that influenced product development and launches for Altus Industries Inc. in 2020.

An hour-long conversation this month with three other small business executives was “therapeutic” for Jonathan Jelks.

Final passage could come as early as Monday on a $465.1 million state aid package that would provide “survival” grants to ailing small businesses and entertainment venues that were closed or had their operations limited by state orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Whitmer administration is expected to announce in the coming days whether to extend, alter or allow state-imposed restrictions on business activity to expire.

The West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will use a $100,000 grant from Bank of America to help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced Friday that it would soon start accepting applications for up to $15,000 relief grants from small businesses “disproportionately impacted” by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The head of the Small Business Association of Michigan says he’s “cautiously optimistic” that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state legislators can agree on a bill that would allow businesses to defer property tax payments.

The Whitmer administration has extended restrictions on indoor dining and various indoor entertainment facilities for 12 more days to help curb the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Calls to support small businesses during the holiday shopping season have perhaps never been louder than this year.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders to enact assistance for businesses affected by the most recent state restrictions.

The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $10 million COVID-19 relief grant program for small businesses that were harmed by recent state restrictions affecting restaurants and entertainment facilities.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer met virtually today with small business owners who received support from a state grant program and discussed the importance that additional federal support would have on their businesses. 

ALGOMA TOWNSHIP — Jarred Sper is turning 45 acres of his backyard property near Rockford into a rustic off-the-grid camping experience meant to let visitors unplug and connect with nature. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the opening of Daimond Dixon’s athlete training and recovery facility, he and his wife Regina decided they would still find a way to train athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses and the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce received $75,000 each from Flagstar Bank to offer grants to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

GRAND RAPIDS — Black-owned businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Grand Rapids can apply for financial assistance from a $25,000 donation from Comcast Corp. 

When Jeanne Rathbun and her team at Criterion Manufacturing Solutions Inc. noticed a growing need for health screenings to safely bring employees back to work, they leveraged decades of experience in custom automation to develop a more streamlined solution.

With widespread wedding and formal school dance cancelations during the pandemic, Archie Sudue’s newly opened men’s suit shop has been struggling.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s guidance for companies that got Paycheck Protection Program loans and are now selling aims to keep deals flowing as borrowers await decisions on whether they’ll have debt forgiven.

The sale of Paragon Recruiting LLC, a small Holland firm that specializes in recruiting for the information technology industry, was two years in the making. 

A Grand Rapids-based mobile application, software and web development firm has changed ownership after company leaders sold to a pair of employees.

The Pure Michigan campaign that touts the state as a travel destination should return soon to spur fall and winter travel and help tourism-reliant small businesses that were hit hard this summer by the COVID-19 pandemic.

HOLLAND — Owners of a new specialty market pushed back the opening this spring of Market Zero in downtown Holland because of the pandemic, but they are already eyeing an expansion to the storefront next door.

GRAND RAPIDS — Leaders of the Grand Rapids Symphony got creative over the past six months with new ways of sharing music with the community. But as capacity restrictions begin to lift on venues, the orchestra is gearing up again for in-person audiences.

Thousands of small businesses across West and Southwest Michigan have received grant funding from a state COVID-19 relief program.

More than seven in 10 small businesses in Michigan expect further sales declines from the COVID-19 pandemic in the months ahead, according to new survey results from the Small Business Association of Michigan.

In the summer of 2019, Chris Ake and a couple of fellow tech entrepreneurs entertained the idea of building out artificial intelligence-fueled smart scheduling software they were already using to quickly and easily schedule meetings.

Grand Rapids Community Media Center — which runs WYCE-FM radio station, GRTV, The Rapidian news outlet and the Wealthy Theatre — continues to serve the community during the pandemic but had to scale back many of its operations this year.

At Tech Defenders — a business that specializes in repairing, refurbishing and reselling laptops and mobile devices — processing a used device and finding it a new home used to take about 60 days.

GRAND RAPIDS — Some financial relief could be on the way for Kent County businesses that have been forced to shut down because of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.

Dozens of Michigan independent music venue owners are calling on state officials to create a $10 million pandemic relief fund to help them avoid closing permanently.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Opportunity for Women is accepting applications through Sept. 26 for its ReStart Kent loan program.