Top Small Business Grants in Michigan

By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman · May 22, 2024 · 9 minute read

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Top Small Business Grants in Michigan

Michigan has about 910,000 small business owners statewide who could apply for small business grants. Submitting an application and competing for Michigan small business grants can help you grow your small or medium-size enterprise in the Wolverine State.

Michigan’s economy has a gross domestic product of $674.8 billion as of 2023. That’s the 14th largest GDP in the United States out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Below we highlight some of the top small business grants in Michigan.

Grants for Small Businesses in Michigan

If you’re looking for small business grants in Michigan, here are some potential options to consider:

Michigan’s State Trade Expansion Program (MI-STEP)

•   Program description: MI-STEP is a grant reimbursement program that can help you export your goods and services from the Wolverine State to foreign markets.

•   Incentive: Receive up to $15K in reimbursements for eligible business expenses, including international marketing and trade show participation costs.

•   General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant:

◦   Be a Michigan-based small business

◦   Be able to provide a Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) annual report or business structure filings from a county registrar’s office

◦   Understand how exporting works and the cost of doing business with foreign buyers

◦   Provide an employer identification number (EIN) linked to a Michigan address

◦   Be in good standing with the Michigan Department of Treasury and other regulatory agencies

◦   Be an export-ready U.S. company

◦   Have a product or service consisting of at least 51% U.S. content

◦   Minimum gross annual revenue of $100K

◦   Wholesale distributors of imported products are not eligible for MI-STEP grants

•   How to apply: Access and submit a completed MI-STEP grant application through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Project Portal.

Match on Main Grant Program

•   Program description: Match on Main is a reimbursement grant program for eligible small businesses operating in a Michigan business district.

•   Incentive: Be reimbursed up to $25K for eligible expenses on project activities, such as the cost of making interior building renovations to a permanent commercial space.

•   General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant if you’re an eligible small business owner:

◦   Have a local government, downtown development authority, Michigan Main Street program, or other eligible organization apply on your behalf

◦   Be headquartered in Michigan

◦   Be located within a traditional downtown, historic, or mixed-use location zoned for concentrated commercial development in Michigan

◦   Sell products or services face to face as an eligible business

◦   Have a proposed project that incurs eligible expenses, such as costs for interior building renovations or electrical improvements

•   How to apply: Work with an eligible applicant who can submit a Match on Main grant application on your behalf, such as the local government where your business is based.

Michigan Workplace Improvement to Safety and Health (MIWISH) Grant Program

•   Program description: The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) offers MIWISH matching grants to eligible employers who buy items that promote workplace safety.

•   Incentive: Receive up to $5,000 in matching funds to buy items and training services that help improve the safety and health of your employees.

•   General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant:

◦   Have 250 employees or less

◦   Come under the jurisdiction of MIOSHA

◦   Conduct a site-specific evaluation justifying the purchase of any safety equipment

◦   Implement a workplace safety project that reduces the risk of injury or disease to employees

•   How to apply: Complete the MIWISH grant application available online.

Motor City Match Grants

•   Program description: Motor City Match is a business assistance program that provides cash grants to eligible small business owners who need additional funding to open a new establishment in Detroit. The program can also benefit existing Detroit business owners who need additional funding to complete façade improvements.

•   Incentive: Receive gap funding grants of up to $100K to open a new business in Detroit or grants of up to $25,000 to complete façade improvements to your existing Detroit business.

•   General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant:

◦   Be a new businessperson opening your first location in Detroit, an existing business owner opening an additional location in Detroit, or an existing Detroit business owner who needs additional funding to complete façade improvements

◦   Have a clear budget on the total project costs to open a new establishment or complete façade improvements

◦   Have the ability to invest a minimum for 10% of the total project costs in your own equity

◦   Have a need for additional funding that you can’t find elsewhere

◦   Have been open and operating for at least one year if you’re seeking funding for façade improvements

•   How to apply: Access the Motor City Match grant application online and submit a completed application when the grant round opens.

City of Wayne Façade Improvement Program Grants

•   Program description: The City of Wayne Downtown Development Authority (DDA) offers Tax Increment Financing (TIF) cash grants to eligible property owners who enhance the general aesthetics of a building exterior or façade.

•   Incentive: Receive up to $10K in reimbursements for making façade improvements to an eligible property in the City of Wayne’s downtown TIF district.

•   General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant if you’re a small business owner:

◦   Own commercial property or other eligible real estate in the City of Wayne’s downtown TIF district

◦   All personal and real property taxes are paid up to date

◦   Payment of all water charges and special assessments are current

◦   Have a certificate of good standing from the state of Michigan

◦   Propose a detailed project that would improve a blighted property or help prevent deterioration in the downtown district

◦   Comply with all City of Wayne regulations, codes, and ordinances

•   How to apply: Access the City of Wayne Façade Improvement Program grant application online and submit a completed application to the City of Wayne Community Development Department.

Who Provides Small Business Grants in Michigan?

Local and state government agencies, including the MEDC, offer a variety of small business grants in Michigan.

You can compare small business grants in Michigan with similar programs in other states, such as:

•   NJ small business grants

•   Wisconsin small business grants

Do You Have to Pay Back a Small Business Grant?

A small business grant typically comes with terms and conditions, and you may be responsible for paying back the grant if you violate those terms. In general, small and midsized business owners are not required to pay back an SMB grant absent any violations.

You typically have to sign a funding agreement to accept a small business grant. As mentioned above, the grant may come with certain conditions. Using the grant for an illegitimate purpose may violate the agreement and require business owners to pay back the grant.

Small business grants may require you to spend the money by a certain date. You may also have to provide proof of payment and a written statement detailing how you’ve spent the grant.

Recommended: What to Know About Short-Term Business Loans

Who Is Eligible for Small Business Grants in Michigan?

Local business owners or operators of an enterprise with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible for small business grants in Michigan.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy generally defines a small business as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. A small business, including individuals who freelance, may be eligible for small business grants.

What Industries Does Michigan Support With Grants?

Michigan offers a variety of grants supporting the following industries:

•   Cannabis

•   Construction

•   Fabricated metal product manufacturing

•   Food manufacturing

•   Machinery manufacturing

•   Metal industries

•   Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing

•   Nursing and residential care facilities

•   Plastics and rubber products manufacturing

•   Primary metal manufacturing

•   Retail trade (store and nonstore retailers)

•   Transportation equipment manufacturing

•   Wood product manufacturing

Michigan Resources for SMB Owners Looking for Funding

Here are some resources for small and medium-sized businesses looking for funding in the Wolverine State:

Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The Michigan SBDC is a statewide program that can provide Michigan’s small business owners with the following services:

•   Webinars and workshops about running and growing your business

•   Market research

•   No-cost consulting

SBA District Office in Michigan

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that provides resources and support to small business owners. The SBA Michigan District Office serves the entire Wolverine State with a main office in Detroit and satellite office in Grand Rapids.

Alternative Funding Sources for Small Businesses in Michigan

Here are some alternative funding sources for small businesses in Michigan:

Michigan State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)

Michigan’s SSBCI is a federally funded program for small business owners in the Wolverine State. Federal law — the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 — allocates nearly $237 million to Michigan’s State Small Business Credit Initiative program.

Here’s how Michigan plans to use the SSBCI funding:

•   Michigan Small Business Venture Capital Program — $75 million. This program can help eligible startups access venture capital.

•   Michigan Collateral Support Program — $71.1 million. This program provides cash collateral to help small businesses qualify for small business loans.

•   Michigan Loan Participation Program — $48.2 million. This program uses SSBCI funds alongside private funds to support loans to borrowers who need financing for a diversification or expansion project in Michigan.

•   Michigan Loan Guarantee Program — $40.3 million. This program provides lenders with short-term, partial guarantees to support loans offered to eligible borrowers, including socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own small businesses in the Wolverine State.

•   Michigan Capital Access Program — $2.37 million. This program uses SSBCI matching funds to support portfolio insurance on small business loans.

Michigan Microloan Lenders

Community-based nonprofits may offer microloans of up to $50,000 to small business owners in Michigan, including microloans for women-owned small businesses. In general, microloans can range from $500 to $50K and may be available to startups.

Michigan SMB Loans from Private Lenders

Banks, credit unions, and private lenders may offer different types of small business loans to Michigan business owners.

Here are some of the funding products you may consider depending on your needs:

•   Commercial real estate loans

•   Equipment financing

•   Small business loans for startups

•   Working capital lines of credit

The Takeaway

Small businesses in Michigan can apply for small business grants available from government and private sources.

If you’re seeking financing for your business, SoFi can help. On SoFi’s marketplace, you can shop top providers today to access the capital you need. Find a personalized business financing option today in minutes.


With SoFi’s marketplace, it’s fast and easy to search for your small business financing options.

FAQ

How do you get a small business grant in Michigan?

You can apply for Michigan small business grants, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get approved for one. You may have to submit a grant application as a qualified small business owner to be considered for a small business grant in Michigan.

How hard is it to get a business loan in Michigan?

You may have difficulty getting a small business loan in Michigan if you have bad credit or insufficient business experience. You generally have to pay back business loans with interest.

What is the easiest SBA loan to get approved for?

There’s no guarantee you’ll get approved for any SBA loan, but SBA microloans may be one of the easier ones to get if you’re a new business owner. Startups may be eligible for SBA microloans of up to $50K. If you’re looking for a streamlined application process, SBA Express working capital loans are an option you may consider.


Photo credit: iStock/RgStudio

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