LANSING – Seventeen communities around Michigan have been awarded a total of $500,743 in grants aimed at supporting small local businesses to create resiliency and strengthen downtowns, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“Thriving small businesses are the cornerstone of what makes Michigan’s downtowns unique and authentic while helping to create economic opportunity across the state,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “These Match on Main grants will help local businesses find new paths to growth and create and retain jobs, while further developing vibrant, unique, and attractive places where people want to live, work, and play.”

MEDC’s Match on Main program provides funding to communities that participate as a select and master level community in the Michigan Main Street program or are a Certified Redevelopment Ready community. The communities, who receive the grant funding from the MEDC, in turn award grants of up to $25,000 to eligible businesses seeking support.

The grants are expected to create or retain 69 full-time and 71 part-time jobs, and the projects are expected to generate a total private investment of nearly $2 million.

Grants may be used by the business for eligible expenses that support technical assistance, interior building renovations, permanent or semi-permanent activation of an outdoor space, permanent or semi-permanent business infrastructure related to COVID-19 recovery efforts, and other working capital needs such as marketing needs and inventory expenses. Additional needs identified by the business and supported by the local community are also considered.

La Probadita at 19 S. State St. in downtown Hart and the new Stella’s Coffee House, which hopes to open in June in the former Soup of the Day Cafe location, 213 E. Main St., also in downtown Hart, each received a $25,000 grant.

In June 2020, MEDC announced that 22 communities around Michigan were awarded a total of $993,984 in grants aimed at supporting the COVID-19 economic recovery efforts of small local businesses throughout the state. The grants were awarded through an expansion of the Match on Main program. A total of 299 small businesses around Michigan received assistance through the program.