Resources for small business during COVID-19

For the most up to date small business COVID recovery resources, please visit Detroit Means Business.

Now more than ever, we need to come together to support each other. Design Core is here to support Detroit Design Network members and the design community. We are continuing to offer virtual office hours for design businesses in need. To schedule an appointment, please complete our virtual office hour intake form.  

For the most up-to-date information for citizens and employers, please visit the State of Michigan’s Coronavirus site. Also, the City of Detroit, New Economy Initiative, and University of Michigan Poverty Solutions have aggregated a list of grants and other resources for creatives and businesses.   

Below you can find some financial resources and business support that may help designers and their businesses through these times. 

Financial Resources

State of Michigan grant up to $10K for Covid: Up to $10,000 grants per company, must have 50 employees or less and able to demonstrate an income loss as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak

Artist Relief: a consortium of funders announced the creation of the Artist Relief, a $10 million national emergency relief fund for artists and creative workers that will provide $5,000 no-strings-attached grants. It is intended for anyone who earns income from their creative or artistic practice and who has also been affected by COVID-19. T

Kiva Detroit:  In response to COVID-19, Kiva US is implementing expanded eligibility and 6 months grace periods.  They are also increasing loan amounts to $15,000. Changes are effective immediately.  

Honeycomb Crowdfunded Small Business Relief Loan: Up to $50,000 in community-sourced loans with a 6 month interest only period and no prepayment penalty.

TCF Bank Small Business Relief Loans Fund Loans between $5,000 and $50,000 for 12-month terms for Wayne County small businesses suffering substantial hardship due to COVID-19. Interest only for 6 months, amorizing payments second six months with a balloon payment at the end. 

Lake Trust Credit Union Micro Business Loans Loans up to $49,999.  Businesses that are approved can typically get access to the funds in a matter of days based on the personal credit of the business owner. For more information on these products, contact Nicole Dietrich, Business Development Manager at 734.904.5464  or

State of Michigan small business loans from $50K-$200K: Loans $50,000 or more and are capped at $200,000, must have fewer than 100 employees, can demonstrate and income loss due to COVID-19 and unable to access credit through alternative sources, interest rate is.25% per annum with term interest only for 60 months

Small Business Association is offering various capital programs and loans including:

  1. Low interest, long term Economic Injury Disaster Loans for up to $2 million: The first payment is deferred for 12 months. The application has been simplified and can be completed 100% online.
  2. Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance for up to $10,000. The form to apply is part of the economic injury disaster loan application. If approved, these funds can be used for payroll and other operating expenses and will be forgiven.
  3. Express Bridge Loans:   This is an SBA Express loan, up to $25K, 7 year term with very quick turnaround.  A business owner must have an existing relationship with an SBA Express Lender (deposit account, loan) in order to qualify.  Underwriting is the mostly the same as for regular SBA Express Loans.  If a business owner receives an SBA Express Bridge Loan and then receives an EIDL, they may be required by the lender to repay the Express Bridge Loan back.

SBA Disaster Loan Assistance: Not an SBA guaranteed loan, but rather a direct cash loan of up to $2 million at 3.5% interest, with first year repayment obligation waived

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program,

the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.

Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.

Facebook is offering cash grants and ad credits to small businesses. More details here

Resources for Freelance Artist during COVID-19: This list is specifically designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. It is an aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.

Resources from Detroit Design Network Members

Woodward Movement is offering to help local businesses sell gift certificates and online offers through a new platform.  To participate, contact Jess Thibodeau at Ph: 313.649.7939

Entre-Slam, Inc is offering free virtual meetings around storytelling for small businesses affected by the crisis.  For more information contact Christa Chambers-Price at 734-276-2736 or

Skidmore Studio offers some advice for adapting your business culture.  

Mutual Aid is a centuries-old system of a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit. Get involved: Detroit, Michigan, National directory

Other Support

Many associations and agencies are sharing resources to help small businesses navigate these times. SBAM’s COVID-19 response page offers a comprehensive set of resources for small businesses. This includes specific guidance on unemployment and temporary lay-offs, the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, and other employment issues. The Detroit Regional Chamber is maintaining an up-to-date news and information page. The American Society of Employers has compiled useful HR information. Independent workers or their employers can also find specific guidance here.

Detroit at Work is offering resources for both job seekers and employers. To learn more about how to claim unemployment benefits in Michigan, sign up online here or call 1-866-500-0017. If you are hearing impaired, TTY service is available at 1-866-366-0004. Employers seeking guidance on temporary leave for employees so that they may qualify for unemployment benefits, please check here

HR Assistance for City of Detroit Small Business Owners: Regarding Unemployment- Please use Everything HR to set up WorkShare or file unemployment on behalf of your employees. You'll save your employees a lot of headache, and you'll help relieve the burden on the State's UIA system. DTE has generously funded this support for Detroit Small Businesses only.

Many businesses need help adjusting their plans to these unexpected circumstances.  TechTown offers useful advice for impacted businesses regarding financial planning, operations and marketing in their guide for small businesses. 

Working from home is an adjustment for most teams. You can find tech resources here to streamline working from home, solo or with a team. 

Cable companies are extending support in various ways. Learn more about Comcast and Charter CommunicationsVerizon, Spectrum, Xfinity, and AT&T programs.  Tune in to this soundtrack by our friends at Standard Wonder Group as you navigate it all. 

Finally, if you are having trouble meeting basic needs, please check out Bridge MIchigan’s comprehensive statewide guide to resources that can help Michigan families during this challenging time.