DETROIT (WXYZ) — In Wayne County, $50 million is up for grabs for small businesses with COVID-19-related costs. County Executive Warren Evans announced the Back to Work: Small Business Readiness Grant. He spoke with news media over Zoom and explained the grant will provide two months of lost revenue which covers April and May.
"From cost of keeping people on the payroll to merchandise costs, rent lease mortgage payments, critical business operations, you name it," Evans explained.
Evans said the money comes from the federal CARES Act. Grants of up to $10,000 will be made available for about 5,000 businesses. Officials say that's about 10 percent of small businesses in the entire county. Depending on who meets the criteria, Evans says it's slated to be a 'significantly competitive process'.
Khalil Rahal, assistant county executive explained, "Some of the program requirements: You have to be a brick and mortar business within Wayne County. You have to have under 50 employees, and make less or have less than a million dollars in sales."
Rahal added that businesses also must have been open for at least a year, be current on their taxes, have less than a million dollars in sales, and be in good standing with LARA. That's the state licensing body.
Wayne County Commission chairwoman Alisha Bell says the federal government requires CARES act money to be used before the end of the year and so that urgency coincides with the needs small businesses are trying to meet.
Bell said, "Of course the backbone of our county, the backbone of our country, is small businesses and we have to do whatever we can to make sure they stay afloat because they hire our neighbors. They hire our friends."
The Wayne County Commission approved the initiative late this morning. The application process opens up June 29th.