Much of downtown Kalamazoo's economy revolves around small businesses. Those small businesses, we are told, are hurting maybe more than other endeavors, as they don't have the deep pockets and resources to persevere though the current economic calamity.

To that end, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has come up with a program titled "the Match on Main – COVID-19 Response Program", which will provide the "Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership the opportunity to apply for up to $50,000 in grant funds to assist small businesses in Downtown Kalamazoo".

Here's an explanation of that:

"The Match on Main COVID-19 Response Program temporarily expands the MEDC’s Match on Main Program and will provide up to $50,000 to local downtown management organizations to administer to eligible small businesses located in traditional downtowns, neighborhood and commercial districts, or areas planned and zoned for concentrated commercial development." - MEDC

The partnership says up to 25 businesses will be selected to obtain $2,000 each.

The requirements are, It has to be a for-profit business, have been affected by Covid-19, have less than 25 employees, and (normally) makes sales face to face. The businesses have to be in "traditional" business areas (not strip malls). Big box stores and franchises are out, too. No marijuana businesses need apply. And if you already got small business relief money, you're out, too. As they say, "them's the rules."

And here's maybe the most important thing to know: There's a deadline and it's Monday at 5pm. Yes, that's Memorial Day. How bad do you want the grant?

Here's the nuts and bolts. Questions can be emailed to: team@downtownkalamazoo.org

First you download a worksheet, here. Fill it out and email it to team@downtownkalamazoo.org. Do it no later than 5pm, Monday, May 25th, 2020. If you are selected, you'll be notified at the end of next week. And the state agency will announce the winners of the grants in early to mid June.

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