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Detroit Economic Growth Corporation Distributes $7.25 Million in Restart Grants to Over 900 Detroit Small Businesses for COVID-19 Assistance

Sep 29, 2020

  • More than 900 Detroit small businesses will receive grants of up to $20,000 to help with operating expenses
  • Majority of recipients are Black-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses
  • Restart Grant is second financial relief program in partnership with Michigan Economic Development Corporation to help Detroit small businesses during COVID-19 crisis, providing a total of more than $11 million since April

DETROIT— The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) is distributing $7.25 million in aid to more than 900 Detroit small businesses as part of the Michigan Small Business Restart Program. Grants of up to $20,000 are being awarded to businesses that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 virus. More than 70 percent of the total funds will be awarded to Black-, women- and veteran-owned businesses in Detroit.

“Protecting Detroit’s small businesses that have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 crisis is a key priority for the City,” said Kevin Johnson, President and CEO, DEGC. “Assistance from the Restart Program will help businesses suffering from lost revenue. Our entire community is coming together with resources to help our small businesses survive this crisis so we can protect jobs, economic growth and the neighborhood vibrancy that comes from the small business community.”

Approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund July 7, 2020, the Michigan Small Business Restart Program allocates $100 million of federal CARES Act funding to provide support to Michigan’s small businesses and nonprofits that are reopening and have experienced a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The funding was distributed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) across 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations covering all 83 counties in the state.

The Restart application period ran from July 15 to Aug. 5, 2020. DEGC is in the process of notifying applicants and expects to have all funds distributed soon after. Funds may be used to assist with payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utilities and other similar expenses.

“Supporting our small businesses has been a huge priority for us since COVID-19 struck, from financial support, to providing PPE and safe reopening plans and issuing expedited permits for outdoor restaurant seating,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.  “It was important to us that DEGC’s largest infusion of financial support go predominantly to our minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses.”

To be eligible for the grant program, businesses must employ fewer than 50 workers, demonstrate a net loss as a result of COVID-19 as well as a need for working capital.

“Skin Bar VII opened late last year on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion,” said owner Sevyn Jones. “We were just hitting our stride when the COVID-19 crisis hit. We have been blessed to receive funding from both the Relief and Restart grant programs. As a result, we are open today both online and in-person. At our store on Livernois, we’re practicing newly implemented cleaning and have been following health and safety regulations. As our customer traffic increases and we adjust to the new normal, we are looking to hire additional employees.”

This is the second COVID-19 financial relief program administered by DEGC in partnership with MEDC to help small businesses stay solvent during the pandemic. The first was the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, which launched in March. It provided $1.6 million in grants from the MEDC for Wayne County businesses, of which $800,000 was awarded to Detroit-based businesses. When combined with additional dollars from the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC), a total of $4 million was distributed to more than 740 Detroit businesses between April and June 2020.

“The Michigan Small Business Restart Program is helping Detroit businesses remain open and allowing them to adapt and grow during these uncertain economic times,” said Pierre Batton, DEGC Vice President Small Business Services. “Several of our Detroit small businesses are using COVID-19 relief funding to digitize goods and services, hire back employees and adhere to health and safety protocols. This grant program provides a lifeline for Detroit small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy.”

A list of Michigan Small Business Restart Program grant recipients along with the eligibility criteria are located at

Michigan Small Business Restart Program: Awards to Date

Number of Business Awarded* 901
Total Grant Dollars $7,002,000.00
Average Grant Amount $7,771.00
% Minority 75%
% Black 67%
% Women 45%
% Veteran 4%
% Detroit Resident 61%


*DEGC anticipates between 50 and 100 additional businesses will be awarded grants through the program before Sept. 30, 2020.

To date, the MEDC has launched 19 COVID-19 relief and recovery programs supporting more than 3,400 businesses in the state and helping to retain more than 14,700 jobs across all 83 counties.

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC)

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is a non-profit organization that serves as Detroit’s lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development. DEGC is led by a board comprised of business, civic and community leaders. Its staff provides services for key public authorities that facilitate incentives and other forms of financing for projects that bring new jobs and investment to the City. DEGC also manages important initiatives to support small businesses and grow neighborhood commercial corridors. DEGC is dedicated to inclusive economic development and works to reduce the racial bias and inequality that can be barriers to economic opportunity. Follow DEGC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.   

 Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Learn more about the Michigan Small Business Restart Program Grant.

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