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More than 300 Michigan small businesses awarded grants to winterize operations, add capacity

February 25, 2021

Nearly $3 million in grants awarded by SBAM through partnership with Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity

LANSING, MI – To help winterize workplaces and temporarily expand operations to meet COVID-19 distancing requirements, 331 Michigan small businesses were awarded grants by the Small Business Association of Michigan through a program created and funded by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).

“Offering outdoor opportunities for business during the colder months has been a lifeline for small businesses this year as they work to survive during the pandemic,” said SBAM President Brian Calley. “These grants are helping small businesses offset the costs of creative outdoor options that increase capacity as they work to operate safely. SBAM is proud to have worked with LEO on this important program.”

Qualified businesses were awarded between $1,000- $10,000 to fund weatherized, temporary outdoor facilities. The grants were part of COVID-19 federal funding identified by LEO to assist businesses with winterization efforts.

“Michigan small businesses have done their part to safely keep our economy running during this pandemic,” said LEO Acting Director Susan Corbin. “We know these times have been tough and are proud to continue working with SBAM to provide resources to help small businesses weather the storm, and in this case, take on winter operations they never would have considered before.”

Businesses and nonprofits that received the funding included:

  • Restaurants and/or bars
  • Breweries/wineries/tasting rooms
  • Cafes
  • Concession stands
  • Banquet centers
  • Catering companies
  • Gyms
  • Ski resorts
  • Dance/gymnastic studios
  • Boating clubs
  • Golf courses
  • Funeral homes
  • Theater companies
  • Museums
  • Downtown Development districts
  • Food banks
  • Nature centers
  • Cider mills
  • Retail stores/shops
  • Commercial real estate companies

Grant funds will reimburse small businesses for constructing temporary structures such as canopies and igloos or purchase portable heaters, outdoor furniture and tableware, cooking equipment, and other related safety and security upgrades needed to increase outdoor capacity for carryout and delivery services. All funds must have been used to support of weatherization of outdoor capacity expansions completed between August 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.

Applications for grant funding were submitted in November 2020, and awarded to eligible businesses on a first-come, first-served basis with special consideration given to awarding at least 10 grants in each of Michigan’s prosperity regions.

For additional details on the grants and success stories of recipients, visit

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