Sixty grants were awarded to Ingham County restaurants that were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Out of the 127 eligible applications received, 68% of the restaurant category awards were given to underrepresented business owners, according to the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, which managed the program for the county.
LEAP Strategic Officer Victoria Meadows said in a press release the review program’s application process addressed the inequitable economic impact of COVID-19 and “subsequent inaccess to initial relief efforts for underrepresented communities, including Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), women, veterans, people with disabilities and people who are LGBTQ+.”
Across all grant categories, demographic distribution exceeded Ingham County’s 50% target goal to reach underrepresented business owners, LEAP said.
Ingham County and LEAP have awarded more than 600 grants from federal relief funds to different types of small businesses – money that came from the Ingham County Sunrise Small Business Grant Program. The grant program is funded by $11 million from the county’s first portion of federal American Rescue Plan aid.
“This critical funding from Ingham County’s ARPA funds is allowing hundreds of small businesses to launch into the upcoming holiday season with confidence,” Ingham County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Bryan Crenshaw said in a LEAP press release.
Eligible businesses had a window to apply from June 28 to July 30. Grants awarded ranged from $5,000 to $25,000.
“It’s giving us a bit of cushion to operate during the winter,” said Adrian Joseph, owner of Goodfellas Bagel Deli. “So this is good for the next few months and maybe getting caught up with a couple bills that accumulated over the past however long.”
Goodfellas Bagel Deli, 625 E. Michigan Ave., received $10,000. The restaurant retained most of their employees through the pandemic, but did lose a couple of workers who were students, Joseph said.
“I’m actually planning on also giving a few bonuses to the employees that are at the shop,” he said.
To date, all category awards have been announced, including grants for retail, goods and services, tourism and hospitality, nonprofits, new businesses, sole proprietors and restaurants.
LEAP also gave 17 grants for child care, community economic impact and business incubators.