Applications now open for DEGC's COVID-19 relief funds for small businesses

Eligible small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for grants from $2,500 up to $10,000 as part of the $3.1 COVID-19 Grant Relief Fund offered by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, in partnership with the City of Detroit.

Applications will be accepted online and awards will be given on a rolling basis subject to availability of funds. First payments are expected to be processed by April 10.

Businesses can apply on the website, and a conference call is set for today, April 1, for businesses who want to find out more about the program.

During a press conference Tuesday, March 31, Mayor Mike Duggan called the relief fund “one of the most powerful programs I’ve ever seen to help small businesses. We’ve got a lot of small businesses in this town. When we come out of this pandemic, if we’re going to be a vibrant city we’ve got to save them, we’ve got to keep them going.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our community,” DEGC President & CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement last week. “Losing these businesses would devastate Detroit neighborhoods. With both our private and public partners, we’re working to get cash to businesses now — when they need it — as part of DEGC’s overarching plan to sustain businesses during the health crisis.”

In order to qualify for grant support, businesses must meet the following criteria:

• The business made less than $1 million last year

• The company has 50 or fewer employees

• The company needs working capital to support payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar fixed costs, which Johnson described as “pressure points” for businesses at this time.

• The company is able to demonstrate income loss as a result of the “Stay at Home” order or the COVID-19 outbreak.


Johnson also cited factors in scoring businesses, including how long businesses have been in the city, profitability, and the number of employees, which is “important because we want to make sure the least of the small businesses have the best shot of sustaining themselves moving forward.”

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Read more articles by Dorothy Hernandez.

Dorothy Hernandez is a freelance writer and editor who frequently writes about food at the intersection of culture and business. She has contributed to NPR, Midwest Living magazine, Eater, and a variety of other publications. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @dorothy_lynn_h.