MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. – The city of Michigan City and Economic Development Corporation Michigan City teams are launching a Small Business Assistance Grant Program.

The grant program is supported by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that seeks to propel forward those negatively impacted by the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants will be available in the range of $5,000 to $25,000 per qualified business for funds invested in required arenas, such as equipment, employee payroll, utility or operating costs, rent or mortgage expenses, marketing and advertising and physical improvements.

Applicants must meet criteria, including being located in Michigan City municipal boundaries, have been in business before March 1, 2021, have employees at 25 or fewer at full-time status and demonstrate economic hardship. The application and criteria specifics are available here.

The program is a vital tool to assist entrepreneurs or small business owners who continue to struggle with business ownership, said EDCMC Executive Director Clarence Hulse.

“The pandemic is still an everyday challenge for those business owners who are feeling the effects to this day,” Hulse said. “The intense impact of the initial shutdown is lingering for many businesses that are still working their way back to where they were – let alone seeking to build a better and stronger business.

“Our city leadership seeks to lend a helping hand through funds that can address lasting issues that can be linked to COVID.”

The process begins with the online application, submission of required documents that will be outlined in a checklist and review by the City’s ARPA Business Review Committee based on need for the funds. The committee members will evaluate:  how funds will fill a gap or need, how funds ease the impact of COVID as detailed in the application and the overall stability of the organization.

“This is an important grant program. Our small businesses are the backbone of our community because they employ our local residents and create a sense of community within the city,” said Michigan City Mayor Angie Nelson Deuitch. “Our goal is to support existing businesses to make sure they’re viable. I know it’s been a struggle for them as we’re coming out of the pandemic, but this is an opportunity for them to increase capacity for future employees.”