By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
Jointly announced by Executive David Coulter and Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Woodward on March 26, Oakland County has established plans to create a $3M small business stabilization fund to help combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We believe this is the first phase of support for our businesses,” Coulter said in the county’s prepared release. “We need to keep their doors open first and foremost.”
The driving force behind this announcement occurred on March 25 when the county was notified of a $1.15M grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Small Business Relief Program.
The state is expected to distribute this money to Oakland County by April 1, which doubles as Census Day in 2020. Qualifying small businesses can receive up to $10,000 to help offset the loss of income or additional expenses incurred during this outbreak.
“We are grateful for the state’s support and it is a great first step but more needs to be done,” Coulter continued. “Shuttered businesses are driving unemployment increases at unprecedented rates. Oakland County saw nearly 16,000 more individuals apply for unemployment last week.”
Additionally, the county will use $700,000 of this $3M stabilization fund to encourage companies to shift their focus toward the manufacturing of personal protective items for health care workers, such as face masks and gowns.
Per the county’s official website, Oakland County accounts for 21 percent, over one-fifth, of Michigan’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Here is the criteria for small businesses to receive grant support:
– The company is in an industry outlined in Executive Order 2020-20 or any subsequent Executive Order of similar intent, or demonstrates it is otherwise affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
– The company has 50 employees or fewer.
– The company needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses which occur in the ordinary course of business.
– The company can demonstrate an income loss as the result of an Executive Order, or the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The Board of Commissioners is committed to keeping our small businesses in operation and our health care systems above water, supporting their many employees and keeping our residents safe,” Woodward added.
“It is important for us to move quickly. We don’t have the luxury of time.”
Applications for grant consideration are available at OakGov.com/COVID. A panel consisting of downtown development authority and chamber of commerce members around the county will review the applications and make recommendations to the county, Coulter shared.
Further information is available on Oakland County’s official website.
By Teddy Rydquist