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Regional partnership awards relief grants to 60 Dearborn small businesses in response to COVID-19

Sixty small businesses in the city of Dearborn have been selected to receive stimulus grants to help provide working capital amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Grants upwards to $5,000 will be distributed by the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) this week and are aimed to support those businesses most often left out of major city, state, and federal relief efforts, due to lack of federal funding and eligibility restrictions on micro-businesses.

The Dearborn Small Business Relief Grant - funded by the New Economy Initiative (NEI) and coordinated through a partnership with ACCESS, the City of Dearborn, the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, the Yemeni American Chamber of Commerce, East and West Dearborn Downtown Development Authorities, and Warren and Dix/Vernor Business District Improvement Authorities – is focused on making available access to capital for locally owned retailers, service business, and restaurateurs, as well as home-based businesses, freelancers, and creative industries.

Over 675 grant applications were submitted earlier this month, serving as a testament to the extent of the COVID-19 impact on the local community. Award recipients were selected based on a blind, automated logic model. Grants were awarded to both brick and mortar and home-based businesses that included the following types of businesses: retail, transportation, auto repair, salons, real estate, restaurant/food/hospitality, home care, education/tutoring, bakeries, shoe and leather repair, cell phone retailers, architecture and design, immigration and tax services, medical, travel agencies, computer repair, and catering.

Grant funds may be used for day-to-day operating expenses of the awarded business, including payroll, rent/mortgage, inventory, and utilities; restocking inventory in preparation of re-opening to the public; and transitioning to e-commerce, curb-side pick-up, and delivery integrations.

“The support for sixty small businesses in Dearborn by the partners of the Relief Fund is a testament to the cooperative spirit that the City has become known for,” says NEI Director Pamela Lewis. “There is more to be done to help small businesses in this time of crisis and the New Economy Initiative (NEI) looks forward to continuing its work with all members of the community.”

Eligible applicants included small businesses with 17 employees or less and sole proprietors, located in Dearborn, who were encouraged to apply over a week-long period in late April.

Small business outreach support and technical assistance will also be provided by the partners to assure long-term business success.

NEI, established in 2007, is a Detroit-based funder collaborative housed at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to drive entrepreneurship and diversify and strengthen southeast Michigan’s regional economy.


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