Small businesses have been hit hard during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Business customers are in need of programs that can provide a financial lifeline with access to loans or grants and offer guidance on reducing energy bills.
Supporting Small Business in Detroit and Statewide
There are over 12,000 small businesses in Detroit. Thousands of small businesses who have worked hard to start their book shops, cafes and clothing stores, are eager to reopen as quickly and safely as they can. A dedicated group of about 40 Detroit nonprofits and large companies – including DTE – have been working for weeks to create a comprehensive reopening plan to help these small businesses.
In May, Detroit launched a website with a playbook dedicated to small businesses of 2-50 employees to help them safely reopen. The playbooks details everything from testing of employees to social distancing best practices and PPE. Since DTE has been working 24/7 through the pandemic providing essential energy to customers and communities, we have gained invaluable experience in working as safely as possible, and we believe it’s our responsibility to share this knowledge. But we aren’t just sharing knowledge; we also donated 6,000 PPE kits with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to keep small business employees and customers safe. Our dedicated volunteers helped pass out these kits in Eastern Market.
TechTown created the Detroit Small Business Stabilization Fund, providing $5,000 emergency assistance grants to help small businesses during the health emergency. The DTE Energy Foundation, in cooperation with Tech Town, the City of Detroit, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) and Invest Detroit, stepped up to support this need by supporting 200 small businesses with its Emergency Fund for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The City of Detroit, Accenture, the DTE Foundation and DEGC have also partnered to provide advisory services to Detroit small businesses applying for COVID-19 financial relief funds. The Foundation is supporting this effort by identifying and engaging with technical support organizations like the Accounting Aid Society of Detroit and directing this support to Detroit small businesses. The Foundation has made sure to support small businesses across the state and continues to evaluate ways it can help businesses thrive.
While the loans will help small businesses cover some costs, businesses can cut expenses further with some simple, no-cost steps for energy reduction. More information on small business relief and energy tips can be found here.
Partnering with Michigan-based suppliers
DTE continues to partner with local businesses as takes steps to protect the health and safety of employees and customers. This includes food, housing and other services for mission-critical employees living away from home.
Some employees are staying in nearly empty hotels in Monroe, Southgate, Port Huron and Detroit that would have shut down temporarily without DTE’s business. Tide Cleaners, based in Shelby Township, is providing laundry services. Food for employees from DTE’s Greenwood, Belle River and St. Clair power plants is provided by Continental Cafe and Catering, based in Troy. After having nearly 70 events cancelled or postponed, Continental brought 30 employees back from furlough to help prepare and deliver three meals a day to DTE workers.
Employees with jobs that do not allow them to work from home arrive each day at DTE facilities to have medical screenings underneath tents rented from American Rentals in Lansing. They also use hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer DTE purchased from Griffin Claw Brewing Company and Detroit City Distillery, both based in Detroit.
Throughout this pandemic, and in better times ahead, DTE is committed to doing business in Michigan.