TRAVERSE CITY — Grants for northern Michigan small businesses again will be available through the Regional Resiliency Program.

Administered by Venture North Funding and Development, grants for businesses with nine of fewer employees will begin later this month, according to a release.

There RRP grants will be available to small businesses in Venture North’s 10-county region, which includes Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford.

The program made 200 grants in 2020. The RRP was funded by more than $500,000 in awards and donations.

Venture North President Laura Galbraith said the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues into 2021.

“Just as we see signs of progress, the challenges of COVID-19 continue,” Galbraith said in the release. “The comeback will be a long haul for many small businesses that lost revenues, margins, cash reserves, customers and employees.

“The cost of losing a business in our rural communities is immense. We estimate there are 17,000 small businesses with nine or fewer employees in our 10-county region. We know many have not benefited from the Federal stimulus. With the guidance of local leaders, we want to allocate Resiliency grants and technical support to small enterprises that are the heartbeat of northwest Michigan’s communities.”

The Regional Resiliency Program has received $300,000 in program donations and grants, including $200,000 from the Consumers Energy Foundation in March. The goal for the program in 2021 is $500,000, the release said.

“We could not be doing this without the leadership and community knowledge of local partners throughout the region,” Galbraith said in the release. “They help organize local teams that are objective and knowledgeable about their communities. They review all grant applications for their area and provide us with funding recommendations that we follow.

“They also often serve as catalysts for donations and charitable giving to the program with 100 percent of those contributions circling back as grants to help small businesses in their neighborhoods that are struggling.”

Galbraith said the RRP will soon announce the grant application process for 2021. Any business can receive assistance filling out the application by contacting Venture North at info@venturenorthfunding.org or (231) 995-7115.

Donations to the Regional Resiliency Program can be made by calling (231) 995-7110 or by visiting https://www.venturenorthfunding.org.

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