DBusiness Daily Update: MEDC Initiative Sends $10M to Nearly 700 Small Businesses, Oregon Company Creates 300+ Metro Detroit Jobs, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of March 4

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

MEDC Relief Initiative Sends $10M to Nearly 700 Small Businesses Across Michigan
Nearly 700 small businesses across Michigan have been awarded $10 million in grants through the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative.

The program, administered by the Michigan Municipal League Foundation, was launched to provide relief for small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative utilized $10 million in federal U.S. Housing and Urban Development CARES Act funding to provide economic assistance to small businesses across Michigan. Michigan’s small businesses that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were able to apply for grants of up to $15,000 through the program.

MML Foundation reviewed submitted applications from all 10 prosperity regions across the state.

“The foundation believes that no one should be left behind in our communities,” says Helen D. Johnson, president of the MML Foundation. “Community wealth building is about enhancing the human experience for everyone, which includes working to ensure Michiganders have social and economic security. This grant helped small businesses retain jobs by supporting more than 650 businesses and their employees from all corners of the state. We are proud to be part of this initiative and recognize that our work is not done. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the state and other allies to deepen and expand efforts to create access to community wealth-building opportunities.”

Funds were awarded on a first-in basis, with the majority of funding disbursed to grantees in less than 60 days from the application window opening.

To qualify for grant support, businesses were required to meet a number of criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Being a business in one of the targeted industries.
  • Identifying a need for payroll, rent, or mortgage payments, and/or utility expenses necessary to continue or restart business operations.
  • Having at least two employees (including the owner) but fewer than 50.
  • Be a for-profit business, per HUD guidance.
  • Meet the HUD National Objective for Job Retention by retaining jobs that would otherwise be lost without assistance through employment verification.

In addition, applicants were required to self-certify that they are following all state and local orders related to COVID-19, including, but not limited to, those issued by DHHS and county health departments.

For the full list of grant recipients, visit here.

Oregon Company Creates More than 300 Metro Detroit Jobs
Oregon-based business solutions firm FCR recently expanded its new work-from-home model to Romulus and Southfield as its first locations in Michigan, creating more than 300 jobs.

The company’s initial plan was to pilot a work-from-home office model, with 10-15 customer service and tech representatives working remotely to test the talent market, but quickly accelerated plans.

“Within a couple of weeks of posting initial job openings for the pilot, FCR experienced such tremendous response from candidates, they quickly realized the pilot was not necessary and they could achieve their growth plans much quicker than expected,” says Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership. “As more companies maintain work-from-home strategies beyond the pandemic, this region’s diverse talent base is going to appeal to many of them that no longer find themselves requiring employees to work onsite or even in the same state.”

FCR is a premier provider of live agent call center and business process solutions. It provides a wide range of contact center, business process, and social networking solutions to industries that include e-commerce services, telecom, health care, finance, travel, transportation, insurance, and various other economic sectors.

Working with the Detroit Regional Partnership, FCR targeting southeast Michigan also helped the firm meet its recently developed workforce diversity goals.

“What we are seeing happen across the country with systemic racism and racial injustice presents every business leader in our industry with an opportunity,” says Matthew Achak, president of FCR. “We can choose to sit on the sidelines and watch it all unfold, or we can do things within our own companies to make real change happen.”

Previously, the company had primarily focused on small communities in the Pacific Northwest for filling its employment needs but sought out a market with more diversity.

Oakland County Enlists Ready Nursing Solutions to Administer COVID Vaccine to Seniors
The Oakland County Health Division is partnering with Ready Nursing Solutions to assist the county with administering COVID-19 vaccine to long-term care (LTC) staff and residents as well as homebound seniors.

The county reports that more than 101,000 of its residents 65 years and older have received their first dose from providers and all 23,000 school personnel on the Health Division’s Save Your Spot list have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine or an invitation to a vaccination appointment.

“We still have much to do, but we are making progress offering COVID vaccine to our senior citizens, teachers, and other eligible individuals,” says Dave Coulter, Oakland County executive. “Our partnership with Ready Nursing Solutions as a third vaccine becomes available will help us to continue our steady march toward the goal of protecting our residents and putting this pandemic behind us.”

There are about 70 LTCs in Oakland County that need COVID vaccine because they are not covered by the federal contract with Walgreens and CVS. Oakland County Health Division has administered COVID vaccine at 36 of these LTCs so far, even as it operates multiple vaccine clinics seven days a week throughout the county. Ready Nursing Solutions will provide nurses who will assist the Health Division with administering COVID vaccine at the remaining LTCs and will begin giving doses to homebound seniors in Oakland County.

To sign up an Oakland County homebound senior citizen to receive a COVID vaccine from Ready Nursing Solutions, call 810-331-0902 to make an appointment directly with Ready Nursing Solutions. To register online, visit here and complete the patient intake form. Be sure to select “Oakland County Residents – Homebound” on the intake form organization dropdown menu. The homebound senior must meet state of Michigan eligibility requirements.

Michigan Hispanic Chamber Presents Economic Forum March 24
The Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will present its 17th annual Economic Forum virtually on March 24 from noon-1:30 p.m.

Opening remarks will be given by Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE Energy. DBusiness Magazine Editor R.J. King will moderate a panel discussion with:

  • Lauren Rakolta, president and CEO of DFM Solutions.
  • Andrew Coulouris, director of federal affairs at DTE Energy.
  • Robert Dye, senior vice president and chief economist at Comerica Bank.
  • Jonathan Linder, director of federal policy at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Visit here for more information.

Lawrence Tech Offering LTU $78,600 Scholarships to STEM students
Students pursuing degrees in a variety of technology and engineering majors are eligible to receive a scholarship worth more than $78,000 over four years under a new program at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.

The LTU STEM Scholar Award is offered through the university’s Marburger STEM Center, LTU’s clearinghouse for K-12 outreach efforts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Degrees eligible for the scholarships include Bachelor of Science in:

  • Audio engineering technology
  • Chemical biology
  • Chemistry
  • Construction engineering technology management
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Industrial engineering
  • Mathematical sciences
  • Mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology
  • Media communication
  • Physics and computer science
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Technological humanities

Students pursuing an Associate of Arts degree in radio and television broadcasting also are eligible for the scholarship.

Students must take at least 30 credit hours of classes per academic year for all four years of their time at LTU to receive the scholarship, which will total $78,600 over four years.

“The purpose of this award is to empower more students to pursue degrees in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics and to spark their interest in the exploration of STEM subjects and careers,” says Lisa Kujawa, LTU associate provost for enrollment and outreach. “Another important objective is to prepare students to become entrepreneurs within the STEM fields. Studying STEM disciplines at LTU prepares our students for many of the most rewarding careers and highest-paying jobs.”

To be reviewed and approved for the STEM Scholar Award, students should apply for LTU admission, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, and pay an enrollment deposit. For further information, email admissions@ltu.edu or call 800.CALL.LTU and press 1 for admissions.

New C3 Accelerator to Host Informational Webinar March 16
The new C3 Accelerator focused on supporting Cleantech, Climatech, and Circular Economy technology companies at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield is hosting an informational webinar on March 16 from noon to 1 p.m.

The C3 Accelerator is a partnership with LTU’s Centrepolis, the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE), New Economy Initiative, the city of Southfield, Michigan Economic Development Corp., and the Wells Fargo NREL Innovation Incubator (IN2). It will offer up to $275,000 in funding in the form of grants, loans, and services to support the product development and scaling of Cleantech, Climatech and Circular Economy technologies.

To participate in the webinar, visit here.

The deadline to apply to participate in the C3 Accelerator is May 31. For more information, visit here.

Cure Multiple Myeloma Ask the Doctor Zoom Discussion Returns March 25
Cure Multiple Myeloma Corp. in Bloomfield Hills is bringing back its Ask the Doctor Zoom discussions on March 25 at 8 a.m.

Dr. Matthew Pianko, clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Division of Hematology/Oncology Rogel Cancer Center, will provide an update on treatments, insights into his work, and answer questions.

The discussions are free of charge and available by contacting Michele MacWilliams at mmacwilliams@curemultiplemyeloma.org.

Future discussions and topics will take place:

  • April 6, 7 a.m. — COVID-19 vaccines and multiple myeloma patients.
  • April 21, 8 a.m. — Transplants as part of a treatment protocol for multiple myeloma patients.
  • April 28, 8 a.m. — Multidisciplinary care of patients with Multiple Myeloma.
  • May 12, 8 a.m.— Translational research in malignant hematological diseases.
  • May 26, 8 a.m. — Multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, therapeutic apheresis, and myelodysplasia.

The June 9 7 a.m. event with Dr. Jeffrey Margolis, president of Michigan Healthcare Professionals, is being planned as a hybrid in-person/Zoom event at a site to be determined in Farmington Hills.

MEDC Working to Reach Gender Parity
In anticipation of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. is highlighting its efforts to help forge a gender equal world.

In July 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the Michigan Women’s Commission would be transitioning to the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity — and be part of the same collection of agencies as the MEDC — demonstrating her administration’s commitment to ensuring Michigan women can fully participate in the workforce and achieve financial freedom.

More specifically, the MEDC says it is making sure to highlight woman-owned suppliers, a field that lacks women’s representation. There are 1,854 diverse (minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, tribal-owned) suppliers that are a part of the Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) community, a business-to-business (B2B) platform.

In addition to efforts from the PMBC, the MEDC has also recently supported Michigan women with:

  • The Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund with Michigan Women Forward, supported more than 300 small businesses with $1.5 million fund (emphasis on minority, woman-owned businesses).
  • The Michigan Small Business Restart Program allocated nearly $100 million for 14,441 small businesses around the state, with 3,832 self-reported as being woman-owned and 2,101 self-reported as being minority-owned.

17th Annual Detroit Go Red for Women Campaign Raises $600K+
More than 700 metro Detroiters logged on to join the first ever American Heart Association’s Detroit Go Red for Women Digital Experience on Feb. 26.

This year’s week-long digital experience raised a total of $624,171 with $164,756 raised on the day of the digital experience.

Throughout the week leading up to the main event AHA Detroit hosted informative virtual breakout sessions powered by their local sponsor, Blue Cross Blue Shield including “Women’s Simple 7: 7 Heart Healthy Behaviors & Markers,” “Stress & It’s Impact on Women’s Bodies,” “Mindfulness & Stretching Your Body at Home,” and a panel discussion on the social determinants of health.

“For 17 years, the AHA has been leading the way to address the disparities in women,” said event co-chair Tricia Keith, event co-chair and president of emerging markets at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Our theme for this year’s event is Faces of Heart. We want you to know that women’s health is an equity issue. Everybody deserves the opportunity for a healthy life.”

In addition to Keith, the Detroit Go Red for Women Digital Experience was led by co-chair Betsy Meter, former Michigan managing partner of KPMG. The goal was to highlight the many faces of heart disease and stroke across metro Detroit and to bring awareness to the social determinants of health that disproportionately impact women.

Money raised from this year’s luncheon will help fund new scientific breakthroughs, community impact projects, and resources to help make the healthy choice the easy choice in metro Detroit.

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