Gov. Whitmer Announces New Small Business Assistance Centers to Provide Comprehensive Resources, Financial Assistance for State Small Businesses


For quick release

June 27, 2023


Gov. Whitmer Announces New Small Business Assistance Centers to Provide Comprehensive Resources, Financial Assistance for State Small Businesses

Lansing, Mich – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to announce a new Small Business Support Hub program aimed at investing in the state’s small business ecosystem. Small business growth increased in Michigan with 137,000 new small business filings by 2022.

“It’s important to ensure that our small businesses are positioned to grow and create good jobs in Michigan as we grow Michigan’s economy and build a brighter future for our residents.” Governor Whitmer he said. “Thriving small businesses are critical to our state’s economy, and these federal funds provide timely financial assistance to struggling entrepreneurs and small businesses to build their businesses, create jobs for their friends and neighbors, and support community vibrancy.”

Small Business Support Centers will bring new and more comprehensive resources to small businesses by funding the Small Business Entrepreneurship Centers. The program provides up to $6 million in funding for entrepreneurial hubs to invest in regional operations, deploy a variety of business support services, and provide direct support to small businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Objectives of the program:

  • supporting small businesses disproportionately affected by Covid-19;
  • Develop a more inclusive, accessible and integrated technology and small business entrepreneurship ecosystem;
  • Increase the number of businesses served by new programs, technical assistance and support services;
  • raising awareness of Michigan’s small business ecosystem;
  • Expand the geographic reach of network partners into underserved communities and rural areas;
  • Raise the national profile of Michigan’s small business ecosystem.

Eligible applicants are entities identified as Entrepreneurship Centers that provide training and resources for entrepreneurs, including one-on-one training, mentoring, workshops, seminars, workshops, and networking and mentoring opportunities and events.

The program was approved today by the Michigan Strategic Fund. In February, the Michigan Legislature passed a $75 million Small Business Smart Zones and Business Accelerator Initiative Act. This is a one-time payment to use American Recovery Plan Act (“ARPA”) funds to create and operate programs to support small businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The concept was conceived as part of a series of Covid-19 relief efforts for small businesses under Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI New Economy Plan in 2021 and was developed through stakeholder engagement in March and April of this year, led by the MEDC. The group conducted more than 13 virtual feedback sessions involving 120 organizations and individuals representing SmartZones and other entrepreneurship centers, business service organizations, community development financial institutions, small businesses and independent consultants.

The Michigan Strategic Fund selects grantees through an open and competitive application process. Applications will be accepted from July 10, 2023 to September 8, 2023.. Details will be provided to all interested parties in a webinar on July 11 from 9:30–10:30 am EST, and the recording will be available after the event. More information is available at

Michigan continues to receive national attention for its initiative and innovation in supporting small business opportunities and resources. Last year, Michigan was among the first states to receive early funding through the federal government’s second round of State Small Business Credit Initiative. Earlier this month, Team Michigan continued to attract national recognition for its efforts to support fair opportunities for small businesses, hosting a White House Roundtable on Increasing Capital to People of Color, which focused on ways to support small businesses. Democratizing ownership and access to capital in disadvantaged communities.

“This roundtable gave Michigan an opportunity to join national colleagues, as well as corporate and philanthropic leaders to discuss how to best leverage public-private investments and equitable access to capital through SSBCI through SSBIA’s $10 billion one-time investment for underrepresented jobs across the country.” Creators, he said. MEDC Sr. Amy Rencher, Vice President of Small Business.

The Michigan Innovate Capital Fund program supports Michigan’s high-tech startups

Michigan Strategic Fund also approved the new Michigan Innovate Capital Fund ProgramIt awards incentives to non-profit organizations that run funding programs seeking capital on competitive technologies at the pre-seed and start-up stage. To be eligible, organizations must demonstrate the ability and willingness to invest primarily in high-growth technology-based companies in the early stages of commercialization.

Non-profit organizations that have previously received funding from MSF or MEDC are eligible to apply. Those who have not previously received funding from MSF or MEDC, but who deploy capital exclusively in the state of Michigan and can demonstrate how they can use funding to create jobs and drive sustainable growth, are eligible for Long-Term Growth. Prioritizes nonprofits that clearly address the funding gap based on underserved areas and in underrepresented industries.

The program received a $23 million grant from the Jobs for Michigan Investment Fund, and awards of up to $5 million will be made to eligible organizations. The program’s goal is to continue to grow a vibrant and robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state, creating an environment that supports the attraction and retention of competitive venture-backed technology companies in Michigan.

The program will be built on Michigan Small Business Venture Capital Program$75 million in SSBCI 2.0 funds to provide capital to early-stage, technology-based businesses aligned with MEDC’s strategic plan. The program acts as a limited partner in an in-state venture capital fund that, in turn, funds early-stage, for-profit, technology-based businesses to support those businesses and continue to grow Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole.

“Our small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy., And here in Michigan, We are committed to doing everything we can to provide them with the support, resources and opportunities they need to grow and thrive. The programs approved today are two more examples of how we are working to invest in small businesses and entrepreneurs in our state. MEDC Sr. Fredrik Molnar, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. We are grateful to the Michigan Legislature, the Michigan Strategic Fund, and the entire Whitmer-Gilchrist administration for supporting these programs. The work remains, but we will continue to work to elevate our entrepreneurs and encourage all types of businesses to operate in Michigan.



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