These 682 Michigan businesses won grants in first-come, first-served virtual scramble – MLive.com

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These 682 Michigan businesses won grants in first-come, first-served virtual scramble – MLive.com

A select few Michigan businesses have received $15,000 grants, awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.It was like trying to score concert tickets

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A select few Michigan businesses have received $15,000 grants, awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

It was like trying to score concert tickets.

Thousands of Michigan business owners sat over their computers just before 9 a.m. on Dec. 15, hoping they’d have quick enough fingers to get a $15,000 state grant.

The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief grants were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to all who were eligible. About 22,350 businesses that sought the money, but only 682 grants were awarded – meaning 97% were denied.

Within minutes, thousands of business owners were tossed into a virtual queue – waiting to get an application. Some waited all day, and more than 14,000 were eventually turned away before getting a chance to fill out the application.

The high demand is proof there’s need for more business funding in Michigan, state leaders say.

“I had tears of joy when we got word we received this grant,” said Denise Strong, owner of Triple J Café in Carsonville, in a news release. “I had no idea how I was going to tell nine employees, who have been struggling for 10 months, that they would not have a job to come back to.”

Other business owners called it a “lifesaver” and said they were at a “breaking point” before winning the grant.

This week, Michigan released the list of the 682 businesses that received the grants. Businesses got between $4,800 and $15,000, although the vast majority were given the full $15,000.

See the list below, which is searchable by business name and county. (Click here if you can’t see the database.)

The $10 million for the program came from U.S. Housing and Urban Development dollars, via the CARES Act.

To be eligible, businesses had to have between two and 50 employees, demonstrate a need for cash to continue or restart operations and be from one of the targeted industries – like restaurants, lodging, event venues, gyms and entertainment facilities – among other requirements.

Businesses also had to confirm they’re in compliance with all local and state COVID-19 safety rules.

RELATED: Should businesses that violated health orders be eligible for Michigan’s COVID-19 aid grants?

This is one of a handful of grant programs available to Michigan businesses throughout the pandemic.

Michigan also awarded $55 million to businesses hurt by COVID-19 last month. This time, the grants were not awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, and about 17% of 35,000 applicants were awarded money.

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