December 2021
Arcadia * Benzonia * Beulah * Copemish * Elberta * Empire * Frankfort * Honor
Interlochen * Lake Ann * Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore * Thompsonville
Chamber Newsletter
Michigan Celebrates Computer Science Education Week 12/6-12/12
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed December 6-12 as Computer Science Education Week in Michigan, with a call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers and partners in the field. This week also recognizes Michigan's growing need for highly skilled workers in computer science career fields.

Earlier this year, The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) invested $1.5 million in placing Michigan STEM college students in internships at start-ups across Michigan. The program is facing tremendous demand and can be scaled up over the next three years to address this skills gap.
NETWORKING
Just a friendly reminder that this event will NOT be a Gift Exchange. We WILL be giving out Door Prizes and WILL award a winner of the Ugly Sweater / Wacky Winter Wardrobe Contest. We will also be collecting donations for BACN / Frankfort Rotary winter clothing drive. Please check your email box TOMORROW for details.
MEMBER
NEWS
Outstanding Business of the Year and Community Impact Award nominations are OPEN!!
Do you know of an amazing Chamber Member business or organization that has went above and beyond in 2020-2021? Please submit a nomination for review by our Awards Committee!!
CHAMBER
UPDATES
INTERESTED IN CHAMBER LEADERSHIP?

The Board of Directors next term start January 2022. If you are a part of a member organization and desire to contribute to the backbone of the Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce, please fill out an application.
INTERESTED IN SERVING THE CHAMBER?

Your Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce has many great committees working on our initiatives throughout the year. We would love some fresh faces and new ideas to join our great teams! Email the Director at director@benziechamber.org with your passions.
EVENT HOSTS AND SPONSORS NEEDED!
Would your business or organization like to Host or Sponsor a Chamber Event in 2022? Fill out an application today!!
Chamber of Commerce and Community
Your Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce always has a full agenda. Economic development initiatives, legislative advocacy, workforce strategies, broadband and infrastructure, housing developments and more keeps your Chamber working for your business and the community.
Chamber Ambassadors
Want to help the Chamber with member service and events?

We are always looking for more volunteers to help the Chamber make a difference in the Benzie area.
* * * * Directories, Maps, & Visitor's Guides * * * *
We are happy to deliver Chamber literature to your business or organization.
Please let us know if you need any Chamber Directories or Chamber Maps
Email Michelle - chamberinfo@benzie.org or stop by the Chamber Office!!
BUSINESS
ENRICHMENT
Business Enrichment Programming
The Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce is preparing great Business Enrichment programs under the Making Benzie Better moniker. These will be quarterly programs designed for business owners and community leaders on topics that affect our area.

The Benzie Chamber knows it is important to get Business Owners and Community Leaders together to have an open dialogue about needs in our community. We look forward to bringing more leaders together to Make Benzie Better.

Also, if you would like to host or sponsor a "Making Benzie Better" event for about 30 attendees, please email Michelle at director@benziechamber.org
JANUARY WORKSHOP

We have a great program scheduled for Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 11am - 1pm at Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville.

More info will be out soon with a list of our amazing panelists and a link to register!
FEBRUARY WORKSHOP

We are currently working on an event in February regarding Broadband Connectivity Initiatives in the area. Stay tuned for a date.
ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT
Attorney General Addresses Holiday Scams
Now through Dec. 17, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is sharing 16 Days of Scams to educate and ensure Michiganders protect their wallets while staying safe this season.

Follow the AG's official FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages along with subscribing to the department's consumer alerts to receive the most up-to-date consumer news and updated dangerous toy guide.
MI MLK Day Service Grant
To honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) is offering MLK Day service grants to support volunteer projects that address community needs in response to the pandemic, food insecurity, Afghan evacuee resettlement, water quality, flooding in southeast Michigan and projects around climate change. These issues have challenged Michigan's residents to meet ongoing and emerging needs and the MCSC believes that volunteer involvement is key to overcoming and building thriving communities.

DEADLINE 12/17/21
MI New Economy
MI New Economy builds on Michigan's economic momentum by setting aggressive goals for state government and outlining the transformative proposals that take advantage of the once-in-a-generation opportunity to remake Michigan's future and grow the middle class, support small businesses, and invest in our communities. This plan will result in better jobs, better skills, more people re-entering the labor force and more people staying in Michigan and moving to Michigan. It will result in a new economy, a better economy, one that expands economic opportunity and prosperity for all.
Northwest Michigan Works is now utilizing the Chamber Conference room on Fridays for Path Advisor Programming until their regular room at the library is ready.

We have some great ideas for furthering Workforce Development opportunities using the Chamber building...stay tuned.
Job Seeker Services
Networks Northwest and Northwest Michigan Works have great programming for those re-entering the workforce or even changing careers. Most programs are available via Zoom. Check out their websites for programs available.
USDA Rural Development Business Loans and Grants
Business Programs provide financial backing and technical assistance to stimulate business creation and growth. The programs work through partnerships with public and private community based organizations and financial institutions to provide financial assistance, business development, and technical assistance to rural businesses. These programs help to provide capital, equipment, space, job training, and entrepreneurial skills that can help to start and/or grow a business. Business Programs also support the creation and preservation of quality jobs in rural areas.

Michigan was recently awarded a part of a $7.5M grant for the 2022 TEFAP Farm to Food Bank Program
There is still time to apply for a COVID-19 EIDL!


Applications deadline is December 31, 2021!
All eligible applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.

Do you qualify for PPP Forgiveness?
On September 9, 2021, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced the following major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
  • Increasing the COVID EIDL Cap. The SBA will lift the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt.
  • Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period. The SBA will ensure small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about making ends meet.
  • Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window. To ensure main street businesses have additional time to access these funds, the SBA will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
  • Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds. COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
  • Simplification of affiliation requirements. To ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
Applications are now open for the Michigan Department of Education Childcare Stabilization Grant.

The Child Care Stabilization Grant is a $700 million investment in child care providers across Michigan. The Stabilization Grant is a non-competitive grant for child care providers to help stabilize operations and support the health and safety of children and staff.
LEGISLATIVE
ADVOCACY
With our partnership with the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance representing 16 Chambers across Northern Michigan gives us a fair and equal voice in Lansing and Washington DC.

For example, measures were taken last summer to ease COVID restrictions in our Region ahead of the remainder of the State. The combined resources help us monitor State and Federal legislation that would affect our Northern Michigan economy and lifestyle.
STATE OF MICHIGAN - SENATE

Michigan's 35th District
PO Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
(517) 373-1725
SenCVanderWall@senate.michigan.gov


STATE OF MICHIGAN - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Michigan's 101st District
PO Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 373-1825
PASSED BY THE HOUSE PASSED BY THE SENATE BILL IS LAW
HB 4052 & SB 0231- Daylight Savings Time Participation

HB 4060 - Microenterprise Development

HB 4081/4641/4646 & SB 0198/ 0364/ 0459- Neighborhood Enterprise Zoning

HB 4136 /4137/ 4139 & SB 0210/ 0211 - Snowmobile, Watercraft & ORV Safety requirements

HB 4162/ 4544 - Michigan Strategic Fund designations

HB 4289 & SB 0145/ 0146- First-time homebuyers savings account program

HB 4413 - Minimum Wage update

HB 4722 & SB 0446- Land Use - Short-Term Rental Zoning

HB 4835/4836 & SB 0433/0434- Drivers License / State ID allowance for undocumented individuals

HB 4842 & SB 0444- Spirit Tax & Reform

SB 0432 - Rural Workforce Housing Project compensation amended

SB 0501 - Individuals collecting unemployment benefits will be required to seek work
COMMUNITY
UPDATES
Winter Adventures in Benzie
Winter weather is now upon us. The Benzie Area is home to many great winter destinations and activities. Whether you enjoy a quiet cross country ski, prefer the faster black diamonds at our very own Crystal Mountain, or just like watching the grandkids build a snowman in the yard...there are plenty of ways to Make It Benzie!
New Workplace Took Kit
The Benzie-Leelanau Distric Health Department has put together a new COVID-19 Workplace Toolkit. As always, you are within your rights to require additional safety and health measures at your discretion to protect your staff.

Vaccines are now available for ages 5-11. Check out the Chamber Resource page for info.
Premier Investor Sponsors
Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce - 826 Michigan Ave. / PO Box 204, Benzonia, MI 49616
(231) 882-5801 / chamberinfo@benzie.org