Preparing for our Long-Term Economic Recovery

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance (NMCA) shifted our focus this week from the immediate crisis to planning and preparing for the second phase of our response to the health and economic crises. We’re focused on the following solutions to help drive the economic recovery of northern Michigan:

  • Advocating on behalf of businesses in the continued state and federal legislative response to the health and economic crises 
  • Creating solutions to safely open and operate customer-facing businesses to get owners and employees back to work 
  • Charting the course for the future of the northern Michigan economy by addressing the current unemployment spike while finding new opportunities and solutions for industries adversely affected by continued management of an ongoing health crisis

We will work and advocate for:

  • Additional funding sources and mechanisms to provide businesses with the necessary liquidity to restart or continue operations
  • Clear guidelines for safe operating practices to keep workers and customers safe, including expanded COVID-19 testing, use and availability of PPE, employing modified social distancing practices, and comprehensive cleaning procedures
  • Comprehensive COVID-19 testing to identify and prevent future outbreaks to help bring Michigan together, drive our economy forward, and end the current economic crisis
  • Broadening of talent attraction and development programs to help diversify and build our economy in new areas, such as technology, traded industries, and remote work

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance remains focused on enacting and defending rural-centric business policy. Download the position statement here.
Alliance Continues Advocacy
This past week the Alliance had its monthly meeting with a focus on the COVID-19 crisis. In order to support all businesses during this time of need, the NMCA opened their meeting to all northern Michigan economic development organizations, chambers, and welcomed several guests to the meeting.

The NMCA hosted Michigan state and federal legislators and staff representatives and used an interactive Q&A to pose questions about future funding opportunities and regulatory reform important to our business community.

Lend your Voice to Craft a Regional Reopening Plan
The framework for our regional economic recovery, the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is working to formulate concrete action plans and respond to requests from our business community.

The Alliance is preparing for the second phase of our response to the health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We're asking you to help craft the plan for the reopening of northern Michigan businesses.

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance will be focused, in this next phase, on promoting policies that fit our rural recovery needs.

Businesses Feedback Submitted to Legislators 

This past Wednesday, the NMCA submitted feedback from 166 businesses to the Senator Wayne Schmidt & Senator Curt VanderWall for consideration by the Safe Behavior for Safe Workplaces Task Force.

Northern Michigan is represented by both legislators on the task force, which is making plans to help Michigan recover from the current economic crisis and learning from businesses on how Michigan can safely and systematically start opening for business.

*Please see this letter from Senator VanderWall and share your thoughts and suggestions at   to provide the work group with feedback from the employers and workers of the 35th District to make informed recommendations.
Liquor Buy-Back Program Extended
This week Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-46, tasking the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) with initiating a spirits buy-back program to offer financial relief to bars and restaurants with on-premises liquor licenses affected by Executive Order 2020-9 during the continuing COVID-19 crisis.
Businesses can now submit the required documentation for this buy-back program.

MEDC Announces Tech Startup Stabilization Fund
The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved the creation of a $3 million Tech Startup Stabilization Fund to help stabilize early-stage tech startups in Michigan that are being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Tech Startup Stabilization Fund will provide early-stage tech companies direct investments or loans that can be converted into equity. Investment and loan sizes are expected to range between $20,000 to $100,000, depending on the stage of the company, the sector, estimated runway, and demonstration of need. See full fund details.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Launches Save Small Business Fund
The Save Small Business Fund is a grant making initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories. Funded by corporate and philanthropic partners, the Save Small Business Fund is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as they're able.

Business qualifications:

  • Employ between 3 and 20 people
  • Be located in an economically vulnerable community
  • Have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic

The application will be available: Monday, April 20 at 3 p.m. EDT.

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Manistee, MI 49660