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“Just as Washtenaw County has been working hard to ensure residents have the latest public health information and access to essential services, we are committed to helping the small business community,” said Gregory Dill, Washtenaw County Administrator.
The Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, Ann Arbor SPARK, the Greater Washtenaw Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Washtenaw County Racial Equity Office, and the Entrepreneurship Center at Washtenaw Community College are collaborating to support small businesses experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund started with $100,000 in funding from Washtenaw County, and has been expanded with a $1,000,000 donation from the Song Foundation - led by Dug Song of Duo Mobile, and his wife Linh.
Announcing their donation, Song said, "We need small business employment to continue to be the backbone of economic opportunity. Small businesses are critical to our region and provide meaningful jobs that support our local community. We value these independent businesses that make Washtenaw County stand out as a unique place to live and work."
The fund is now available to provide working capital grants up to $1,000 for home based businesses, $2,500 for businesses with less than 10 employees, and up to $5,000 for businesses with 11-50 employees. These grants are meant to serve as a bridge until additional state and federal resources are made available in the coming weeks and months.
Local donations have been made by the Ann Arbor Community Foundation, the Bank of Ann Arbor, and others. For individuals wanting to support these efforts, a GoFundMe has been established to collect donations to support the initiative. The goal of the GoFundMe is to raise an additional $50,000 in capital to deploy to these valuable community businesses.