There is help for Northern Michigan’s small businesses in ten counties of Northwest Michigan as they work to apply for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Regional Resiliency Program (RRP) is offering technical assistance to help answer small business questions and make connections to apply for PPP,  the forgivable loans offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The RRP is administered by Venture North Funding and Development, a 501 c 3 nonprofit.

Since May 2020 the RRP has worked with funders and local partners to provide nearly 200 businesses that were hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic with “life-line” grants. “Our goal is simple,” said Laura Galbraith, Executive Director of Venture North. “We want to help owners of small businesses carefully consider the benefits of applying for a PPP loan to help their businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Regional Resiliency Program, we found that for various reasons the majority of businesses with nine or fewer employees did not apply. While we don’t have all the answers, we do feel that we can connect business owners with the people who can give them reliable, fact based information.”

Galbraith said that many small businesses did not seek PPP assistance because:

  • They were concerned that the PPP loan would not be forgiven as anticipated.
  • They did not have a banking relationship and need a bank to apply to the program.
  • Their bank chose not to participate in the program.
  • They had never sought grant support and were not sure how to proceed.

“We want to help small business owners answer their questions and address their concerns so they can accurately assess the merits of the program for their business,” Galbraith said.

Requests for help with PPP questions or concerns can be made by sending an email to Please include name and address of businesses, owner name, phone and email of person to be contacted. All requests will be contacted by RRP Technical Coordinators Betsy Evans or Elise Crafts by the end of the next business day.

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner