Thousands of Resources, Ready to help.
Optimize Main Street is expanding its pilot program to support place-based businesses located in a select number of certified Redevelopment Ready Communities, in addition to businesses located in select or master level Michigan Main Street Communities, by providing technology-related technical assistance and grant funding. By expanding technology expertise and the use of digital tools, participating businesses will aim to refine efficiency in business operations, improve connectivity to customers, and/or increase sales. The Optimize Main Street program is implemented through a combination of one-on-one business coaching, a customized learning module, and up to $2,500 in a technology grant.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) finds value in expanding the Optimize Main Street pilot program into a select number of certified Redevelopment Ready Communities because like Michigan Main Street Districts these communities have demonstrated existing local capacity to support new and existing small businesses. These communities have a proven track record of providing technical assistance, training, and education to place-based businesses within their respective main street-type districts.
The MEDC has partnered with Northern Initiatives (NI), a Michigan-based CDFI, to serve as the administrator of this program. Optimize Main Street builds upon the MEDC’s ongoing partnership with Northern Initiatives - which provides increased access to the robust small business learning portal called Initiate. In addition, Optimize Main Street is the MEDC’s first small business financial incentive that ties grant dollars directly to technical assistance milestones.
Optimize Main Street strives to:
Each participating community will complete the Optimize Main Street Application (Appendix A). Within the application, the municipality or Michigan Main Street organization will list the businesses within their district that they have selected to participate in the pilot program (number of businesses eligible for submission will vary per community, please reference Appendix C: Timeline and Assignments). Prior to the Optimize Main Street Application being submitted, all participating businesses must complete an online Business Technology Assessment (Appendix B). The Business Technology Assessment is estimated to take 45 minutes to complete.
Once businesses have been selected at the local level and have been accepted into the program, the business will receive notification from the MEDC. The MEDC will direct business owners to begin the program – which includes attending two one-on-one business coaching sessions (not to exceed 2 hours in total), reviewing a customized educational track of technology-related resources through Initiate, receiving grant funds up to $2,500 to assist with technology implementation, and ultimately completing the post-grant award survey which will be sent in January 2023. In order to be eligible for the grant award, the business will have 45 days to complete the technical assistance requirements.
Please reference Appendix C: Timeline & Round Assignments for additional details. Completed Community Applications (Appendix A) should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the program is announced, this section will be updated with the following information: