• Webinars

    Monday, August 10, 2020 - 2:30-3:30 PM:  Sisters Who Lead 2020 Study
    From Knowing Better to Doing Better: Closing the Opportunity Gap for Women of Color in the Workplace through Transformed Systems Behavior

    Monday, August 24 at 11:00 AM - Marketing Your Business
    This is a fundamental introduction to marketing for small businesses. Does your marketing strategy target your greatest opportunities for increases sales and achieving a competitive advantage? There is much more to marketing than having a couple of social media accounts and an email newsletter. In this webinar, we’ll discuss market analysis and research, competitive analysis and position, as well as product price, placement, and promotion, and finish up with strategy implementation.

    Wednesday, August 26 at 11:00 AM - Financial Management
    Does your business have a strong foundation for its finances? During this webinar we’ll guide you through the basics of financial management. You’ll learn about the importance a bookkeeping system as we review real small business examples of Cash Flow Statements, Profit & Loss, and Balance Sheets.

  • New in the News


    EXECUTIVE DIRECTIVE 2020-08:  COVID-19 and enforcement by state departments and agencies

    EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 2020-161: Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19

    EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 2020-160: Amended Safe Start Order

    LISC in partnership with Lowes is offering grants up to $20,000.
    On behalf of the National LISC office, we are excited to announce that Round 5 of the LISC Small Business Relief Grants is now open! These grants are for small businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19.

    Michigan Small Business Restart Program
    In response to the economic impact of COVID-19, the State of Michigan has allocated $100 million of CARES Act funding to implement the Michigan Small Business Restart Program to support the needs of Michigan Businesses directly impacted by COVID-19.

    $8.55 Million Available in COVID-19 Workplace Safety Grants
    The State of Michigan is making available $8.55 million in COVID-19 Workplace Safety Grants.  The grants are intended to provide companies with fewer than 250 employees matching funds of up to $10,000 to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and purchase health-related equipment and training in response to the virus. More information on the grants and qualification requirements can be found here.  The initial grant application window will be open through Friday, August 7, 2020, with awards given shortly thereafter. Grants applications received after August 7, 2020 will be held pending a potential second phase, if funds remain available.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 2020-147:  Requires Any Business Open to the Public to Refuse Entry or Service to People Not Wearing a Face Covering
    This order reiterates that individuals are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space. It also requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces. Most significantly, the order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering. No shirts, no shoes, no mask—no service. Download PDF sign

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 2020-145:  Safeguards to protect Michigan's workers from COVID-19 
    Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19 - Rescission of Executive Order 2020-114

    EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 2020-143
    Food service establishments, as defined in section 1107(t) of the Michigan Food Law, 2000 PA 92, as amended, MCL 289.1107(t), that hold on-premises retailer licenses to sell alcoholic beverages must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER - No. 2020-127 
    Declaration of state of emergency and state of disaster related to the COVID-19 pandemic continues through July 16, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Small Business Administration Announces New Application Deadline for Paycheck Protection Program
    If you missed the initial round of PPP funding, there is still an opportunity for your business. The new deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is August 8, 2020. Details regarding the loan are included below and additional information can be found (here).

    Michigan Small Business Restart Program
    In response to the economic impact of COVID-19, the State of Michigan has allocated $100 million of CARES Act funding to implement the Michigan Small Business Restart Program to support the needs of Michigan Businesses directly impacted by COVID-19. The application for businesses to apply for funding will open on July 15, 2020.

    $15 Million in Agricultural Safety Grants Provide Critical Relief to Michigan’s Farms and Food Processors
    In response to the economic impact of COVID-19, the State of Michigan has appropriated $15 million of federal CARES Act funding through PA 123 to implement the Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant Program. These grants will provide critical funding to Michigan’s agricultural processors and farms to mitigate risks of the COVID-19 virus across the state’s food production industry. A total of $10 million in grants will be available to processors statewide, with $5 million going to farms statewide. Applications will go live beginning July 15, 2020 with funding awarded on a first come, first serve basis to eligible applicants.

    US SBA: Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program Reopened
    To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing negative economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.

    New analysis shows Governor Whitmer's aggressive action against COVID-19 saved lives, significantly lowered cases, deaths
    A new report released by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team shows that the aggressive actions Governor Whitmer took to protect Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19 have significantly lowered the number of cases and deaths that would have occurred had the state done nothing. The data shows that very few states dropped their infection rate as low for as long as Michigan.

    Resuming Business Toolkit
    The Resuming Business Toolkit is designed to assist employers in slowing the spread of COVID-19 [1] and lowering the impact in their workplace when reintegrating employees into non-healthcare business settings. Not sure whether you’re ready to resume business? Use CDC’s decision tools [2-3] as a start.

    MLive Media Group Pledges Up to $10 Million In matching Marketing Grants
    Since the start of pandemic, our journalists have brought news of Covid-19 to our audience at a staggering pace. As our readership grew, so did the realization of the gravity of this shared experience. Powered by the responsibility to our community of reporting with integrity, MLive.com and our newspapers saw record numbers of readers find news of the pandemic and Michigan’s–and the nation’s–response.

    Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act
    On June 3, the Senate passed the House version of the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, which will:
    Give businesses 24 weeks to spend their PPP loan proceeds instead of 8 weeks.
    Require that only 60% of proceeds be spent on payroll expenses, versus the previous 75% constraint. 
    Extend the deadline that businesses must rehire workers, from June 30 to December 31.
    Provide a loan repayment term of five years instead of two years for any loan dollars not forgiven.
    Allow borrowers to defer the employer share of Social Security taxes (6.2%), regardless of whether the borrower receives forgiveness or not. 50% of deferred Social Security tax would be due in 2021, with the other 50% due in 2022.

    Congress Agrees On Favorable Changes To Paycheck Protection Loans: What Does It Mean For Borrowers?
    The Senate unanimously approved H.R. 7010, a bill that will dramatically alter several critical terms of the recently-enacted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill, which passed the House last week and now heads to the President’s desk for signature, will provide much needed relief for borrowers as they seek forgiveness of their loan amounts.

    Davenport University Scholarship Program
    Davenport University has launched a new scholarship program to enable members of the Michigan Chamber and the regional Chambers of Commerce to offer higher education opportunities to their full-time staff who are unemployed, laid-off or furloughed because of COVID-19 on or after March 1. Davenport’s new Launch Scholarship provides up to $8,000 for up to 30 credits, per academic year, prorated to individuals who have lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Launch Scholarship is available to individuals and alumni who plan to take degree-seeking courses during the summer or fall semester at Davenport University. The deadline to apply is September 8, 2020.

    Solicitation of Services
    The Michigan SBDC, through U.S. SBA CARES Act funding, is requesting proposals from service providers to perform activities to address the needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19

    Four Steps to Sustain Your Restaurant During COVID-19
    Right now, there are relief programs being launched daily to help small businesses like yours recover from the pandemic disaster. Explore the options, but do not make any reactive decisions. Take some time to assess your situation and try to find the best course of action.

    A Letter To The South Haven Community From The National Blueberry Festival
    As you know, 2020 has changed everything. Between the coronavirus, its economic impact on our community, and high water issues along Lake Michigan, we have all had to dig deep to keep moving forward and to stay positive. But the National Blueberry Festival rolls with the punches, and our goal is still to celebrate the South Haven community and our favorite fruit in a way that is fun and responsible! We remain committed to living our values and our mission, and keeping traditions strong, which we believe is especially important in times of disruption and unease.

    Executive Order 2020-110:  Under this order, retailers will be allowed to resume operations on June 4. Restaurants and bars may reopen fully on June 8.
    Swimming pools and day camps for kids will also be permitted to reopen on the same day. Those businesses and activities will be subject to safety guidance to mitigate the risk of infection. Other businesses and activities that necessarily involve close contact and shared surfaces, including gyms, hair salons, indoor theaters, tattoo parlors, casinos, and similar establishments, will remain closed for the time being.

    If you are an entrepreneur who wants to share your story with the Kalamazoo entrepreneurial ecosystem, it’s quick and easy to apply.
    1 MILLION CUPS is a free, nationwide program designed to educate, engage and accelerate early-stage startups. We believe in the notion that entrepreneurs can discover solutions and thrive when they collaborate over a million cups of coffee. To learn more, watch this nifty 2-minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiscWISgJgw.

    New online dashboard provides COVID-19 risk and trend data, helps inform MI Safe Start plan 
    A new, online dashboard launched today that visually illustrates COVID-19 risks and trends in Michigan, providing residents with important information about the pandemic status where they live and work.

    Statewide Platform to Connect Michigan Employers with PPE Producers, Suppliers as Non-essential Businesses Begin to Re-open 
    With efforts to re-engage Michigan’s economy underway through recent executive orders signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Pure Michigan Business Connect program through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has developed a portal specifically designed to support the personal protective equipment (PPE) needs of Michigan businesses as they start the process of re-opening.

    MDARD Offers Guidance to U-Pick Operations in Advance of Opening for the Season
    As warmer weather approaches, so does Michigan’s U-pick season. Farm operations across the state are working so they can safely open and operate in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) outlined key protocols that U-pick operations should be implementing to protect themselves and their customers.

    COVID-19 Workplace Checklist
    Van Buren and Cass County businesses and entities may need this guidance to reopen or expand current services. Under the recent guidance, Van Buren/Cass District Health Department strongly encourages these businesses and entities to take the following actions to ensure the safety of employees and customers. This guidance covers universal screening, social distancing practices, and what to do if an employee tests positive. This is basic guidance. The Governor’s Office along with the Michigan Economic Recovery Council (MERC) may provide additional, more detailed and industry-specific guidance on reopening.

    Guidance For Businesses Reopening
    As the curve continues to flatten and many businesses reopen their doors, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) issued workplace guidelines for employers and employees and created a new hotline, 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219), to answer guideline questions and further protect Michigan’s workforce from the spread of COVID-19.

    MI Safe Start Plan
    Outlines how we will begin to re-engage while continuing to keep our communities safe. Re-engagement will happen in phases. Those businesses that are necessary to protect and sustain life are already open. As we move into lower-risk phases, additional business categories will re-open and the restrictions on public gatherings and social interactions will ease.

    Expanded Work Share Program Helps Employers Bring Back Workers from Unemployment and Restart Their Operations 
    As Michigan businesses begin to reopen, employers are urged to utilize the State’s Work Share program which helps employers experiencing economic pain due to COVID-19 retain their workforce and bring back employees from lay-off as they restart their businesses.

    FedEx is giving $1 million to small businesses
    Each grant recipient will receive $5,000, plus a $500 credit from FedEx Office that can be used for printing banners, posters, floor graphics, custom branded boxes, and more. Each grant recipient will receive a check for $5,000. Additionally, each recipient will receive a $500 credit at FedEx Office to use toward printing services. From May 25, 2020, through June 12, 2020, you can go to fedex.com/supportsmallgrants and click “Apply Now” to start the application process.  

    MEDC Expands Two Community Development Programs 
    Launches New Website to Support Small Business and Downtown COVID-19 Recovery Efforts
    These initiatives include the MI Local Biz Community Crowdfunding Program, which pairs successful crowdfunding efforts with a financial match from the MEDC; an expansion of the Match on Main program to support recovery efforts of small businesses through grants to local units of government, downtown development authorities, or other downtown management organizations; and a new website offering resources, strategies and assets for downtowns and communities as they plan for their re-openings following the COVID-19 crisis.

    Paxton Media Group has established a $250,000 advertising fund
    to help local businesses get back to full strength by subsidizing their marketing through matching grants. Locally owned and operated businesses can now apply for a grant to help recover from the effects of the corona virus pandemic.

    SBA to Make Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to U.S. Agricultural Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic
    U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. SBA’s EIDL portal will reopen today as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation, signed into law by the President one week ago, provided additional funding for farmers and ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

    Michigan Chamber of Commerce and 30 - Chambers Announce COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Agenda
    Michigan Chamber of Commerce and 30 local and regional chambers released the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Agenda to help get Michigan’s economy restarted. “Chamber members agree that public safety is paramount while we also focus on protecting our economic health. The policy recommendations contained in this agenda will assist businesses in their efforts to provide safe workplaces and spaces for their employees and customers and create more certainty and clarity to reenergize Michigan’s economy,” said Steve Mitchell, Chair of the Michigan Chamber’s board of directors.

    Do You Have a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan? We Can Help!
    Many employers, if they are even aware of the requirement, are confused about how to draft, maintain and implement a plan in accordance with the Executive Order and the OSHA guidance.  Thankfully, the Workplace Law attorneys at Bodman have stepped in to help Chamber members prepare.

    MIOSHA: MIWISH Grants Available for Small Employers
    The MIOSHA Workplace Improvement to Safety and Health (MIWISH) Grant Program awards qualifying employers a dollar-for-dollar match – up to $5,000 – to purchase safety and health-related equipment and equipment-related training. The goal of the program is to create a safer and healthier work environment and reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers in Michigan. Complete the MIWISH application at michigan.gov/mioshagrants. If you have any questions regarding the MIWISH grant or application, please contact (517) 284-7811 or Email: BirsenS@michigan.gov.

    Salesforce Care Small Business Grants
    Salesforce is partnering with Ureeka to offer eligible small businesses the opportunity to receive a $10,000 grant to help them through the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program Guide
    This pilot program allows SBA Express Lenders authority to deliver expedited SBA-guaranteed financing on an emergency basis for disaster-related purposes to eligible small businesses, while the small businesses apply for and await long-term financing.

    Additional Relief for Specialty Crop Growers
    A group of 108 bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue—requesting assistance. They asked for funding to develop and execute a recovery and relief plan for specialty crop growers. Washington is signaling that USDA will be issuing regulations on the CARES Act to specialty crop growers next week. Approximately $1.5 billion of the $2 trillion bill will go to specialty crop producers.

    Grants to Manufacturers Looking to Retool and Produce Critical Health and Human Service Supplies 
    PMBC COVID-19 Emergency Access and Retooling Grants program will provide a total of $1 million in grants to Michigan small businesses and nonprofits. Immediate funding up to $150,000 will be awarded to qualified manufacturers looking to produce supplies needed in response to COVID-19. If you are producing PPE and want to be listed as a vendor, click here.

    SCORE Remote Mentoring is Available
    Due to the coronavirus outbreak, SCORE mentors will meet with clients remotely. Mentors are available to participate in remote mentoring sessions via phone, email, and video. If you already have a SCORE mentor, ask them if you can use a remote mentoring method for your sessions.

    Free, Confidential Business Advice from Michigan SBDC
    Access small business consulting, training and market research at no-cost through the Michigan SBDC. To get started, please select your county from the list below and follow the prompts to complete the online request for business services.

    PMBC Virtual Procurement Assistance
    PMBC is offering a free, online procurement and donation platform to assist suppliers of critical health and human services across a broad range of categories, including local municipalities, in accessing supplies and products as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    There is currently a mandatory update to federal posters in response to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. During the stay at home order, employers should post it in an intranet or email it to all employees. Once the order is lifted it must be posted through December 31.

    Full Toolkit
    The Michigan Chamber continues to update its toolkit with resources for chamber members.