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Live Entertainment Biz OK’d For $3.5M In Aid

January 19, 2021

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) Board Thursday signed off on $58.5 million in aid for concert venues, entertainment venues and other businesses dealing with COVID-19 restrictions with the money approved by the Legislature in the recent supplemental. 

One program, the Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program, will send $55 million to local economic development organizations (EDOs) across the state that will then dole out $15,000 or $20,000 grants to businesses “that have realized a significant financial hardship” because of state orders curbing gatherings and requiring face masks. 
 
The other program, dubbed the Stages Survival Grant Program, allocates $3.5 million for grants of no more than $40,000 each for live music and entertainment venues negatively impacted by COVID-19, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) 
 
These programs will not be a first-come, first-served basis, said Mark Burton, CEO of the MEDC. When the MEDC did that for a program in December, there were 7,997 applications successfully submitted with more than 14,000 people still waiting in line after the application window closed after 12 hours. 
 
Both programs will involve a review process, so instead of the chance of funding determined by the business owner’s place in line, Burton said all applicants have an equal opportunity at the funding. 
 
The Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program will open for applications on Jan. 19 at 9 a.m. and close Jan. 22. The funds are expected to be disbursed between Jan. 29 and Feb. 28.  
 
Eligible businesses have to have between 1 and 100 employees, be in an industry affected by the gatherings and face masks order, needs working capital for expenses and can demonstrate an income loss due to the state order. 
 
For the Stages Survival Grant Program, that application window will open Jan. 21 and will close Jan. 28. Applications will be processed by the Michigan Independent Venue and Promoter Association, which will then make recommendations to the MEDC for which venues will receive grants. 
 
To qualify for the Stages Survival Grant Program, these businesses must present “live, disciplined-based performance experiences” and show that 33% of their 2019 gross revenues were from the sale of ticketed live music or entertainment events.  
 
They also have to demonstrate that their 2020 second quarter revenues were not greater than 10% of 2019 second quarter revenues, and they have to employ fewer than 30 full-time employees. 

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