Research Insights From Over 400 Businesses Across Washtenaw County Reveal the Impact of COVID-19

EntryPoint, a nonprofit research institution that delivers comprehensive research insights and implements effective data-driven programs to promote entrepreneurship across the Midwest, today announced the release of the Washtenaw County COVID-19 Business Impact Report. The report reveals the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses in the county, as well as commentary from local businesses on how they are innovating their traditional business models. Additionally, the report provides ways residents can help local businesses during the pandemic.

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Research insights were developed from a survey distributed by the Washtenaw County Community Task Force, which consists of over 30 local foundations, associations, chambers, and economic development organizations. The survey received 403 responses, resulting in 9,672 unique data points. The findings represent 21 sectors of business, 30 municipalities and businesses ranging in size from one to 5,000 employees.

“We developed the Washtenaw County COVID-19 Business Impact Report to measure the impact of the pandemic and necessary distancing actions on local businesses. We reached out to our partners in Washtenaw County to see if they would be interested in working with us – free of charge. The answer was a resounding yes, demonstrating the critical need for data to guide the development of local programs,” said Emily Heintz, founder and managing director of EntryPoint. “We wanted to provide local policymakers, foundations, and other community-focused organizations with the research insights needed to implement more effective programs to support Washtenaw County businesses. The goal is for residents, businesses and community-focused organizations to use the data to support local businesses during and long after the pandemic.”

Small Businesses are the Heart of Washtenaw County

  • Washtenaw County is overwhelmingly a small business community. Of the 403 companies that responded to the survey, 74% operate with fewer than 10 employees.
  • 88% of companies have fewer than 25 employees. This finding is consistent with state-wide trends; in Michigan, 89% of the organizations employ fewer than 25 people.
  • Over 76% of companies in Washtenaw County have applied or intend to apply for loans to support their operations during and after COVID-19.
    • Of the companies who have applied for a loan (SBA or other source), only 8% have been denied
    • 74% of companies that applied for the Paycheck Protection Program Loan reported to have been approved
  • Nearly half of all Washtenaw County companies surveyed felt they were at least somewhat prepared to operate during shelter-in-place, while 37% of companies felt completely unprepared.

Impact: Downtown vs. Uptown and Rural Businesses

  • 59% of all businesses in Washtenaw County are located in uptown or rural areas and 41% are located in downtown areas.
  • Businesses in uptown or rural areas were more likely to experience a greater than 50% decrease in revenue during the pandemic than businesses in downtown areas or compared to Washtenaw County as a whole.

Impact: Minority-owned vs White-owned Businesses

  • 88% of Minority-owned businesses have applied or intend to apply for loans to support their operations during and after COVID-19
    • Of the companies that have applied for a loan (SBA or other source), 19% have been denied
    • 57% of companies that applied for the Paycheck Protection Program Loan reported to have been approved (compared to 74% county-wide)
  • 73% of White-owned businesses have applied or intend to apply for loans to support their operations during and after COVID-19
    • Of the companies that have applied for a loan (SBA or other source), 8% have been denied
    • 78% of companies that applied for the Paycheck Protection Program Loan reported to have been approved

Additional Findings from the Report Include:

  • Whether businesses are hiring
  • Whether businesses received the PPP loan
  • What businesses felt prepared for the shift due shelter-in-place
  • What actions businesses have taken to reduce costs
  • How much business revenues have changed
  • How the pandemic as affected racial minority-led businesses
  • Ways local businesses are helping our community weather the storm
  • Ideas for successful business pivots
  • Ways residents in the region can help local businesses survive

For more information and a look at the complete findings, please click here. To learn more about utilizing data to implement effective programs to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem during this time, please view the EntryPoint Data and Program Development Guide.

About EntryPoint
EntryPoint is a nonprofit research institution that aims to promote entrepreneurship across the Midwest. The organization believes that the best research takes a holistic approach to data acquisition and analysis, and as such, seeks to build meaningful partnerships with corporations, community foundations, entrepreneurial support organizations, and other groups. Working in tandem with these partners, EntryPoint develops comprehensive research reports that deliver insights on strengths and challenges facing companies, communities, and the broader region. Research findings are used to design and implement effective programs to promote entrepreneurship by fostering an inclusive culture, expanding networks, and facilitating education and advocacy. EntryPoint is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. To learn more, visit www.entrypointmi.com.

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