For Immediate Release | Friday, January 21, 2022

BAY CITY, MICH.- The Bay County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution at a special meeting Tuesday, January 18, 2022 to allocate $2 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to Bay Future, Inc. to assist small businesses that were affected and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bay Future will act as the contractual fiduciary of the funds and will partner with the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Huron Region Michigan Small Business Development Center in program implementation.

“Bay County is proud to have committed two-million dollars of American Rescue Plan Act funding to our partnership with these organizations to help Bay County’s economy more forward during these trying times. This is imperative to the long-term economic vitality of our community,” said Bay County Commission Chair, Thomas M. Herek.

Bay County Executive, James A. Barcia, echoed those sentiments, “This money will be used for assistance to small businesses and toward talent attraction and retention to our area. Bay Future and their partners have the skills and experience necessary to effectively distribute these funds to our community’s small businesses on behalf of Bay County.”

Bay County was awarded $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding. The Bay County Board of Commission invited residents, businesses, and community organizations to provide feedback on community needs that have developed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan Act highlights and encourages the use of ARPA dollars to assist small business that were affected and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $2 Million proposal by Bay Future, Inc., Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Small Business Development Center includes:

  • Small Business Grant Funding. Total Program Cost $1,050,000

This program will support the small businesses and industries disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Business would be able to apply for grant funding through Bay Future. Bay Future would market the program, work with the small business to collect applications, review, score those applications and finally administer/disperse grant funds that meet ARPA legislation guidelines and eligibility requirements.

“Small business is the life blood of our community’s economy. We believe this partnership will not only offer the much needed and critical support these small businesses need now, but that it will also strengthen the public-private partnership between the municipality and the organization and will net a huge return on investment for our community and citizenry,” said Trevor M. Keyes, President & CEO of Bay Future, Inc.

  • Small Business Support. Total Program Cost $368,500

To administer this program, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Bay Future will work together to aid the startup and growth of businesses specific to Bay County. The SBDC consultant will offer critical tools, resources, guides, etc. to Bay County businesses in need. Assistance includes but is not limited to a comeback toolkit, consulting support, small business training, tech commercialization support, a 90-day refinement program and more.

“Since Executive Order 20-2020 in March of 2020, the SBDC along with other local partners like Bay Future, Inc. and the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, have been providing support to small businesses. We have been their go-to resources to help navigate the uncharted waters of the pandemic. Throughout the journey we have helped them pause, pivot, restart, recover, relaunch and survive. The SBDC offers critical tools and resources to guide entrepreneurs in launching their new business, early stage startups, as well as providing consulting services to help business owners put a growth plan into action, and expert consulting to help mobilize technology to commercialization. After the once-in-a-century pandemic, with this funding, our local economy will now be poised for a once-in-a-generation comeback,” said Beth L. Roszatycki, Regional Director, Lake Huron Region Michigan Small Business Development Center.

  • Talent Attraction & Retention. Total Program Cost $581,500

Bay County is in need of talent attraction and retention due to the decrease in population, population aging out of the workforce and more. This initiative will call together partners to create a portal of placemaking and workforce development to attract and retain workers. Modeled after Hello West Michigan as a one stop organization for talent recruitment and information, including branding, place making, K-12 education, leisure activities, housing local government and more. This program is designed to create a larger workforce for businesses to pull from. This one-time investment of this program will be built to become self-sustaining.

“As communities compete for talent in a post-pandemic world, this program will provide Bay County the platform needed to build on the momentum we have experienced in the past decade. By approving funding for these initiatives, Bay County has shown it is willing to take an aggressive stance as a community compete for talent and future economic development,” said Ryan Tarrant, President & CEO of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

Phil Eich, Founder of Full Steam Social Media, added, “Being able to share and shape our story at this level is an exciting moment for Bay County. The marketing effort will support our small businesses, strengthen the fabric of our community by connecting citizens with each other along with opportunities and resources, and show those outside the area why they should be a part of what’s happening here in Bay County.

Additionally, the funding allows us to pursue more placemaking efforts that create an even more vibrant and engaging community, everything from public art initiatives to better utilization of vacant spaces, and more. Ideas for these efforts will be entirely generated through engagement with the community.

The success of Feet on the Street showed the power and potential of incremental but impactful change, and we’re excited to continue improving our places to benefit our people.”

More information regarding program details and implementation will be forthcoming. For details surrounding the proposal:

  • January 18, 2022 Board of Commissioners Agenda



Established in 2004, Bay Future, Inc. is a public-private alliance of government, business and other organizations that support economic growth in Bay County, Michigan and the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Through the support of its investors, Bay Future is working to execute Bay Future: Drive. Forward., a five-year plan to drive existing business and entrepreneur development, new business recruitment and job growth, workforce initiatives, market available “shovel ready” locations and sites, and both local and regional communication and collaboration. These strategies are all in an effort to create quality jobs for community residents.

Contact: Megan Manning

P: 989.892.1400


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