Flint, MI—More than 20 Flint-based small businesses have been awarded a total of $200,000 in funding from the Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant Program.

The program is a partnership between General Motors (GM) and the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance, who jointly announced on May 15, 2023, that 23 small businesses in Flint received awards this year. 

According to a Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance press release, this is the fourth round of grants from the GM-funded initiative, which is meant to support “revitalization efforts across the city’s neighborhoods” through bolstering local businesses.

“Flint’s continued revitalization and strong entrepreneurial spirit are evident in the 23 small businesses selected today,” said Terry Rhadigan, Vice President of Corporate Giving at GM. “General Motors is proud to support the growth of these businesses and the community through the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance.”

The release notes that this year’s grantees will use the funding to advance operations “through a variety of efforts and upgrades,” including repairing a roof and parking lot; purchasing a point-of-sale system; participating in training programs; and buying product materials.

In addition to funding, grantees will receive technical assistance and participate in cohort meetings and business-related workshops.

“By providing access to capital, opportunities for networking, and resources to build business know-how, Moving Flint Forward gives area entrepreneurs the tools they need to take their businesses to the next level,” said Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance. “In supporting the growth of these small businesses, we strengthen our neighborhoods, our economy, and the greater community.”

The program awarded 17 grants of $10,000 to businesses that are new to the program this cycle. According to the release, those businesses are:

  • 1:Eleven Leather Goods, an online, handcrafted leather store, specializing in wallets and handbags designed in Flint.
  • Aunt Rena’s Baking Company, a bakery that specializes in pies and cobblers made from scratch.
  • Big Babe’s BBQ & Fish, a family-owned takeout BBQ and fish restaurant started in 2019.
  • Caught My Eye Barber and Beauty Supply Store, a barbershop/salon and beauty supply store.
  • Drinks of Essence Bartending School, a bartending school that offers ServSafe alcohol certifications, bartender certifications, and mixology classes.
  • Horizon Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, a physical therapy business owned by Flint-native Dr. Jerome Adams.
  • Infinite Lifeforce and Therapeutic Solutions, a holistic health and wellness facility that provides counseling, IV therapy, aromatherapy, and other therapeutic services.
  • Lil Milly & Company, a business that provides high-quality consulting to parents and digital-first consumer goods for children and babies.
  • Lori’s Clean Cuisine, a healthy lifestyle food vendor at the Flint Farmers’ Market that offers “cleaner, greener, and healthier” ready-to-eat and frozen meals and organic/gluten free groceries.
  • Mamie’s Protein Smoothie Queen, a food truck and online store that serves healthy smoothies and other fresh foods.
  • Midway Market, a neighborhood grocery store and supermarket that has been locally owned and operated for 40+ years.
  • Millionaire Cuts and Styles, a barbershop located in North Flint that has served men, women, and children for over 15 years.
  • Natural Effecxs, a certified organic skincare and haircare business located in the Flint Farmers’ Market, owned by a licensed cosmetologist and pharmacy technician.
  • Perspective Media, a full-service creative and digital marketing agency that provides multimedia services for small businesses, brands, and individuals.
  • SMH Treats, a home-based bakery that specializes in cupcakes, luxury cakes, gourmet cheesecakes, and other treats.
  • Trumbull Avenue Apartments, a family-owned apartment complex with two buildings and seven rental units.
  • Urban Colab Architecture, an architectural and design firm that focuses on residential housing, historic preservation, and commercial building designs.
Dwayne Harrington, aka Wayne the Barber, lines up Mark Wallace II’s hair during the opening day celebration of Harrington’s new barbershop called Wayne’s in downtown Flint, Mich. on Saturday, April 1, 2023. Harrington’s business was one of six Moving Flint Forward program alumni to be awarded another $5k grant in the program’s 2023 cycle. (Michael Indriolo | Flint Beat)

Additionally, six former Moving Flint Forward grantees received $5,000 each to continue their growth. They include:

  • CompuNinjas, a computer and mobile device repair firm that also offers managed IT services, business consultation, and onsite IT support.
  • Curtis Accounting & Tax Services, a firm that provides tax preparation, financial consulting, credit repair, business setup assistance, and bookkeeping series.
  • Lewi’s Landscaping, a lawncare and landscaping company.
  • New Beginnings Accounting & Financial Services, an accounting and financial services firm.
  • Sunny Patch Learning Center, a licensed childcare center.
  • Wayne the Barber, a barbershop that offers mentorship programs and apprenticeships to youth.

According to the release, a total of 116 businesses applied for this latest round of funding, which was announced in March 2023

Of those, 28 applications were ruled ineligible for various reasons, such as not being located in Flint or being in business for under two years. The remaining 88 applications were evaluated by a review panel of representatives from GM, the City of Flint, local grant-making organizations and community members.

Per the initial call for applications, the Moving Flint Foward program was open to anyone who owns and operates a small business within the city of Flint, as long as the business had 20 or fewer employees and was not a franchise operation. 

Of the 2023 grantees, 22 are minority-owned enterprises.

The Moving Flint Forward grantee announcement follows another $270,000 grant presentation made by GM to eight local nonprofits last week. Those funds are part of a separate initiative focused on community impact work in Flint and Genesee County.