COVID-19 Update: MEDC Wants Entrepreneurs for TV Show, U.S. Engages Pfizer to Produce Millions of COVID-19 Vaccines, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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number of new Michigan coronavirus cases since March 25
Courtesy of Bridge

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

MEDC is Looking for Michigan-based Entrepreneurs for State-themed Episode of TV Competition
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is looking for Michigan-based companies to participate in a Michigan-themed television show that features 60-second new business pitches.

MEDC is encouraging Michigan companies and startups to submit their 60-second pitches for possible inclusion on an episode of “Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch,” a show on the Philo network that features minute-long pitches by companies and startups with innovative business concepts.

Companies interested in representing Michigan on the show should visit here. Applications are live and will be accepted until Aug. 1. Pitch submissions should make sure to cover the following:

  • Why the business was launched and how it is helping solve a problem.
  • Any information on business growth, revenue numbers, and interest in the business’s product or service to show its usefulness and appeal.
  • The amount of capital being sought and for what will it be used.

“Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch” is open to companies or startups with scalable products and services that are ready for investment, and that have a specific plan for how that investment can help them grow their business. The top five companies out of those that apply will have a chance to pitch the show’s investors during a virtual filming of the program in August. The episode will air in November.

“This is our opportunity to highlight the breadth and depth of Michigan’s entrepreneurial spirit on a national stage to show the nation what our state’s creative and diverse innovators can do,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. “Michiganders will demonstrate once again how the next generation of discoveries and ground-breaking achievements are going to take place right here in our great state.”

Michigan currently ranks sixth in the nation for its number of inventions and fourth for its research and development spending.

U.S. Government Engages Pfizer to Produce Millions of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense (DoD) today announced an agreement with New York pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. for large-scale production and nationwide delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. following the vaccine’s successful manufacture and approval.

The federal government will own the first 100 million doses of vaccine produced as a result of this agreement, and Pfizer will deliver the doses in the United States if the product receives Emergency Use Authorization or licensure from the FDA, after completing demonstration of safety and efficacy in a large Phase 3 clinical trial. The agreement also allows the U.S. government to acquire an additional 500 million doses.

By entering into this agreement now, a safe and effective vaccine can be shipped quickly once approved. This approach could help meet the government’s goal to begin delivering 300 million of doses of safe and effective vaccine to the American people by the end of the year.

“Through Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that the American people will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” says Alex Azar, secretary of HHS. “Depending on success in clinical trials, today’s agreement will enable the delivery of approximately 100 million doses of vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.”

Pfizer is collaborating with BioNTech, a German biotechnology company, to develop COVID-19 investigational vaccines without U.S. government financial support. Phase 1/2 clinical trials are underway for the investigational vaccines in the United States and Germany.

As Mortgage Assistance Programs Near End Dates, State Urges Consumers to Communicate with Lenders
The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is reminding consumers that COVID-19-related assistance programs and forbearance periods are nearing their end dates, and those who have taken advantage of these programs should resume making timely payments, if possible, or contact their lenders right away if they still need assistance.

The MiMortgage Relief Partnership, a cooperative agreement between more than 230 banks, credit unions and mortgage servicers in Michigan to provide mortgage relief to Michigan homeowners experiencing COVID-19 related financial hardships, is set to end this month. CARES Act relief is slated to end July 31.

“I urge homeowners to make timely payments if they can to protect their credit, and if they can’t, to reach out to their mortgage lenders now if they are still feeling the impact of COVID-19,” says Anita Fox, director of DIFS. “Borrowers’ forgiveness agreements established earlier this year may be ending soon, but many Michigan lenders continue to offer help to those who need it.”

For more information on federally backed mortgages, visit here. For the latest on state-based programs, visit here.

Consumers who need assistance with their financial services company also can contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 877-999-6442 or file a complaint here.

Residence Inn by Marriott to Open in Farmington Hills with New Design
The 111-suite Residence Inn by Marriott in Farmington Hills is set to open on Thursday, July 30 with an upscale décor that the hotel says offers “flexibility and a unique environment,” what it calls “home plus.”

Located at 33163 Hamilton Court, the all-suite hotel will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned by Hamilton Hospitality Inc., and managed by Group 10 Management of Southfield.

The new Residence Inn will offer studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites. Designed for stays of five nights or more, each suite also has a fully equipped kitchen with a coffeemaker, microwave oven, and residential-sized appliances. The suites also offer the latest in-room entertainment technology and free breakfast.

The new facility offers grocery delivery service, complimentary Wi-Fi, a 24-hour onsite food and beverage market, dry cleaning services, and a guest laundry room. It is pet-friendly and provides guests with business services, an indoor swimming pool, an outdoor patio with a fire pit, a well-equipped fitness center, and a meeting room.

Webinar to Help Restaurants Deal with Difficult Guests
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association is hosting a free webinar titled “You’re Not Security: How to De-Escalate Difficult Guests” at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 23. The de-escalation webinar is designed for restaurant and hotel owners and management. It features John Harris, owner of JCH Security Consulting, LLC.

“Michigan’s hospitality industry has remained resilient and nimble since reopening in early June, implementing a wide array of operational changes for guest and employee safety,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the MRLA. “As frustration levels run high with social distancing measures in place for several months, it has become critical to ensure hospitality employees have the tools and resources to de-escalate potential conflicts with guests. Our association is here to provide that education.”

During the webinar, Harris will share basic skills to de-escalate customers and answer attendee questions. Insights shared during the webinar will include:

  • How to identify an escalating situation with a guest.
  • Steps to better communicate with an upset guest and diffuse the situation.
  • Who should be the go-to person on shifts when conflicts with guests arise?
  • How owners and manager can better prepare their teams.

The webinar is free and MRLA membership is not required. Register online here.

Michigan National Guard to Assist with No-cost COVID-19 Testing in the UP
The Michigan National Guard will continue its partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State Police, and local health departments to offer drive-thru COVID-19 testing this week in Delta, Iron, Mackinac, Luce, Menominee, and Dickinson counties between July 24-25.

Locations for each testing site include:

  • Escanaba, Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds, July 24 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Ignace, St. Ignace Area School, July 24, 1-7 p.m.
  • Kingsford, Kingsford Middle/High School, July 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Crystal Falls, Forest Park School, July 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Newberry, Luce County Road Commission garage, July 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Menominee, Menominee High School, July 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Similar testing has been conducted in more than 30 other communities over the past two months.

Walk to Support Those Battling Huntington’s Disease on Aug. 22
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America’s Great Lakes Region will be conducting its Adrian Michigan Team Hope Walk on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. at Trestle Park (302 W. Hunt St. in Adrian).

Team Hope is HDSA’s largest national grassroots fundraising event. Thousands of families, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and communities walk together each year to support HDSA’s fight to improve the lives of people affected by Huntington’s disease and their families. HD is a fatal genetic disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain.

For more information and to register to participate, visit here, call Bill Sprow at 517-260-7886, or email bdsprow@icloud.com.

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