Resources and opportunities for southeast Michigan entrepreneurs.
Volume 32, April 27, 2020

Make It Your Business is a newsletter from the New Economy Initiative highlighting events, resources, and opportunities for southeast Michigan entrepreneurs.

Taking action in this unprecedented time, NEI has formed a rapid response center to provide a source of information, inspiration, and connectivity. The New Economy Initiative is activating its resources to inform, connect, and move funding in a way that provides relief to their grantees and those they serve.


NEI is keeping a “living” list of questions and answers related to COVID-19 resources for entrepreneurs and businesses. These will be housed on the NEI website, in the bi-monthly newsletter, and shared across NEI social media platforms. If you have questions, please submit them to

1. Where did the PPP money go?

Updates that happened over the weekend: the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program reopens today. For the latest information, visit this page from the US Chamber of Commerce, which includes program guidelines, a lender search tool, and an Emergency Loans Guide. Last Friday, Mayor Mike Duggan and Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon announced that Goldman Sachs has committed $15 million as part of its 10,000 Small Businesses initiative to loans for small businesses in Detroit. The effort is in partnership with Community Reinvestment Fund (“CRF”), the largest non-profit, non-bank SBA 7(a) lender in the country. For Detroit companies who couldn’t get approved in round one, Goldman Sachs is going to make 15 Million dollars of loans for Detroit companies through the Community Reinvestment Fund USA. Apply here.

Here is the official breakdown of the loan data from the SBA. The overall average loan size was $206K.

There has been controversy over whether or not the first round of CARES Act loans actually helped small businesses. Governor Peters has called for an investigation into the program. This USA Today article reports that “lending organizations are accused of frontloading the queue with businesses seeking higher loans. The businesses seeking lower loans were deprioritized.” As reported by CNBC, Morgan Stanley research found that the U.S. government allocated at least $243.4 million of the total $349 billion to publicly traded companies. This Wall Street Journal story covers companies who fared better because they were existing customers of larger banks or had ties to the SBA.

The LA Times reports that “Fewer than 6% of applicants have received their PPP loans, according to the website COVID Loan Tracker, which has compiled data from 15,000 small businesses. The hospitality industry has fared poorly; despite being among the hardest hit, only 9% of loan approvals have gone to “accommodation and food services.” 

In anticipation of a new round of relief funding: This article also offers advice for those who were not organized before: “get organized now so they can apply if and when Congress opens up more money for small business owners. They also have time to choose a better funder — a regional bank, or online loan brokers like Kabbage or Fundera.” It also notes that if you don’t have an SBA guarantor number, you’re probably going to have to reapply.

2. How do we delay our tax filing?

In response to COVID-19 federal tax day has been delayed until July 15, 2020. Here is a tax-related FAQ from the IRS. See also this post from Varnum Law for updated dates to file city and state taxes. The CARES Act also provides for tax relief, details of which are available here for businesses and here for individuals.

3. Does anyone have a TA partner we can call to help us figure out funding options?

TechTown Detroit has two technical support options: Open Office Hours and Ask An Expert. Schedule an Open Office Hour with a TechTown team member or an Ask An Expert appointment with their Professional Service Network to help develop and adjust a plan for shifting market demand. TechTown clients and alumni should contact their designated TechTown staff member for assistance.

Contact the DEGC District Business Liaison team to learn of the most up-to-date resources and information from the City of Detroit or to request assistance for your business. Find out more about getting help applying for SBA (if there is a new round of funding) loans here from the City of Detroit.

The University of Michigan's "Free Accounting Fridays" program is available to help with accounting/finance concerns (profit and loss statements, cash flow analysis, balance sheets, etc.), and consult on the various loan/grant opportunities related to COVID-19 and help prepare applications. Appointments are free and conducted via Google Hangouts or over the phone. Make an appointment here. They have appointment times on Wednesdays and Fridays, but if those days/times don't work, email Ben at to set up an alternative time. 

Quick Base has put together The COVID-19 Small Business Loan Accelerator designed to help you get started applying for relief funding. 

If you’ve found other useful technical assistance resources, please share them with

4. How can I manage customer expectations with my online site during C19?

Numerous outlets are reporting on the necessity of maintaining appropriate stakeholder communication during this time. Here is some advice from Google about how to pause your online business. 

GoDaddy offers their top five best practices for using email to communicate with customers during a crisis here and six 6 ways to use social media to engage with customers in a crisis here.

5. Who can help me/can I direct my staff to discuss reskilling (e.g., to accomodate a business model shift or figure out what’s next if we have to close)?

Here is a Forbes article with examples of several small businesses who’ve had to shift their business models or who are using this time to reevaluate their organizations.

The Harvard Business Review offers some similar examples and ideas for nonprofit organizations in this article.

The National Retail Federation Foundation is offering free online skills training.

McKinsey offers some suggestions for organizations that small businesses can source here, as well as small business-specific impact. Inc offers a productive list of ten things every small business owner needs to do to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on their business.

Brookings Institute segmented industries into three categories: immediate risk, near-term risk, and long-term risk, drawing on consulting industry risk analyses from Moody’s and the Boston Consulting Group, as well as news sources on which industries have been most affected.

The SBA has some tools and links about to local support here for evaluating if/when to close or sell your business. The Atlanta Small Business Network offers some additional input here including links to related resources. And, SCORE has this list of 12 things you can do now to save your small business from COVID-19.

6. Who can help with contingency financial planning and issues surrounding liquidation, bankruptcy, permanent or temporary shut down, then scaling back up?

Sequoia Capital has developed a matrix that presents three macro revenue scenarios.

This 11-page resource from The Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business has a helpful COVID-19 Response Checklist designed to help small businesses develop a recovery plan based on cash flow expectations.

Inc. has curated a comprehensive Essential Business Survival Guide for the COVID-19 crisis.

SCORE has developed this cashflow statement template.

Good suggestions for restaurants here that are thinking about how to open back up.

7. How can I lend my voice to the policy-making process?

In light of the controversy surrounding PPP funding allocation, this USA Today article includes survey results from the James Beard Foundation found that “28% of restaurants said they don't believe they can survive another month of closure, and only 1 out of 5 are certain they can sustain their businesses until normal operations can resume.” It contains suggestions to modify relief funding provisions to better meet the needs of their industry.

According to POLITICO, “the National Restaurant Association, in addition to requesting more funds — partly, it said, to help owners rehire and retrain workers — asked Congress to permit businesses to defer the start date of PPP loans until after local stay-at-home orders are lifted, and to allow more than 25 percent of the loans to be spent on fixed costs like rent and utilities. The International Foodservice Distributors Association will propose similar measures Tuesday, asking Congress to allow PPP borrowers to spend only 50 percent of their loans on payroll and to increase tax credits for employee retention.”

And, this opinion piece in the Boston Globe from the team at ICIC advocates for allocating a significant portion of these monies to fund only applications from minority-owned businesses.

The Live Events Industry has an open petition available here advocating for federal aid.

The US Chamber of Commerce has several links dedicated specifically to policy and advocacy here.

If you are a retail business, see this online action center to request additional support from Congress.

You can complete one of any number of surveys like this or this or this to help inform policy and further data-informed decisions.

Visit for more Q+As.

Events + Opportunities

Many around the ecosystem are offering virtual webinars, events and office hours. NEI will also share these on their website. If you are an organization hosting webinars or events or providing technical assistance, please let us know at

AaDya is offering free cybersecurity support for small businesses right now to help them navigate this new world of remote work, and all the threats that come along with it. Reach out to them through to send in your questions or concerns and they will have a member of their team get back to you with help. Tune into their social media to know about upcoming webinars on cybersecurity for small businesses. 

If you’re a nonprofit, join Bank of America for their webinar “From Financial Response to Recovery: How Nonprofits Can Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis,” this Thursday, April 30, at 2:00 p.m. Register here

In this moment, what new questions are arising for you? Join the Urban Consulate for a virtual salon hosted by Chase L. Cantrell and Lauren Hood, on Tuesday, May 5, at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome. Share questions here.

Nonprofit organization leaders, mark your calendars for Bridgespan’s webinar on “Scenario Planning During Moments of Crisis,” Thursday, May 7, at 3:00 p.m. Sign up here

Join ICIC and Fortune to hear directly from five businesses about “Innovating Through Crisis: Strategies for Small Businesses to Survive and Thrive,” Thursday, May 7, at 3:00 p.m. More information can be found here

SCORE has been hosting free, LIVE webinars every week on small business tips and strategies. See their upcoming offerings on their website.

The Michigan SBDC has been hosting informational webinars. Watch past recordings and register for upcoming small business support webinars.  

Bamboo Detroit has a lunchtime series bringing local and national founders and investors live to do Q&A on specific topics with local startup companies. Check their site for more details and to sign up.

In Good Company: Stories of Resilience

This is a community of opportunity, brimming with stories of small business resilience and survival. 

Submission opportunity: ICIC Stories of Resilience 

Businesses and individuals around the country are stepping up to provide aid during the COVID-19 crisis. Whether you're a restaurant delivering food to healthcare workers, or a software provider lending assistance to your local governments, your story wants to be heard. Please submit 250 words or less to so that they can share your story with the community.

Here are local news stories of inspiration and resilience:

Follow In Good Co. Detroit on Facebook and Instagram to hear stories of resilience from local entrepreneurs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including Deirdre Roberson of Eumelanin, Genevieve Vang of Bangkok 96 and Bangkok 96 Street Food, and others.

In Memory of Samoy Smith

On April 14, 2020, we lost Samoy Smith, a fellow in our 2018-2019 Detroit Innovation Fellowship cohort, social entrepreneur, community leader, mother, and friend. Samoy was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in the spring of 2019 at the age of 32, and after a year of treatment and struggle, she lost her fight. She is survived by her husband Erik and their 3 young children, ages 10, 8, and 5.

Samoy was one of the brightest lights that the NEI team has had the honor of knowing. She was passionate about children, education, and being a steward of the community. Our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends in this time of mourning. She will be greatly missed by all. 


Get inspired by Samoy’s story, and watch the DIF video about her and her community projects in the Bagley neighborhood.

There is a fundraiser for her final expenses and family. 

Creating Space Detroit, one of the nonprofit organizations Samoy founded, is still working to beautify unused parts of the Bagley neighborhood. There are many ways to contribute to their projects and help Samoy’s legacy live on - reach out at and/or donate here

You are not alone. 

We are here to serve the community and stand as a resource for you. Have any questions related to COVID-19 resources for entrepreneurs and businesses, or have a resource or opportunity to share with the metro Detroit entrepreneurial ecosystem? Contact us at


For more entrepreneurship virtual events, resources, and opportunities:

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