State launches $75M economic recovery grant program

Posted on May 18, 2020 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive
Jessica Thiel
Posted by of Insight Publications

Gov. Tony Evers announced $75 million in assistance for small businesses today as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s We’re All In initiative, a comprehensive effort to celebrate and help Wisconsin’s small businesses get back on their feet and support best practices to keep businesses, consumers, employees and communities safe.

Funded largely by federal dollars received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this initiative will provide direct assistance to small businesses most impacted by the duration and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. These $2,500 cash grants will assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, rent, mortgages, inventory and wages and salaries. Businesses will be able to apply for grant assistance in early June.

Wisconsin small businesses have stepped up during this pandemic to keep people safe, and many have pivoted to producing needed items such as hand sanitizer and face coverings. Providing relief to small businesses in Wisconsin that have been affected by the pandemic is an important part of the state’s response to and recovery from the pandemic, Evers said.

Grant recipients will become We’re All In businesses by committing to safety protocols and using them in their shops, cafes and places of work to protect their customers, employees and communities. This network of Main Street businesses will form the backbone of the initiative, along with support from major Wisconsin businesses, communities and other associations.

The We’re All In initiative will include:

  • Grants in the amount of $2,500 to small businesses with 20 or fewer FTEs impacted by COVID-19 that have not already received WEDC COVID-19 assistance. Up to 30,000 businesses may receive grants. More details about the program will be available later this month, with businesses able to apply for grant assistance in June.
  • A series of guides for businesses looking to implement best practices to keep employees, customers and communities safe throughout the COVID-19 crisis. These guides are an essential part of the We’re All In program and were developed in consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Department of Tourism, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Department of Safety and Professional Services, as well as industry leaders and public health experts throughout the state. They are available here on WEDC’s website.
  • Ethnic Minority Emergency Grants, which provide $2 million in funds for ethnically diverse Wisconsin micro-businesses that suffered losses due to the pandemic. The grants are aimed at sole proprietorships or businesses with five or fewer employees that have not received assistance under either SB 20/20 program or SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. One thousand grants of $2,000 each will be administered in partnership with Wisconsin’s 19 ethnic and minority chambers of commerce. More details are available here.
  • An integrated public information campaign promoting We’re All In businesses and social practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and celebrate Wisconsin’s diverse and strong economy.