Jeramey Jannene

Evers Announces $75 Million Small Business Grant Program

Up to 30,000 businesses could receive aid. Additional funding for minority-owned firms.

By - May 18th, 2020 03:29 pm
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Tony Evers. Photo by Emily Hamer/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Tony Evers. File photo by Emily Hamer/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Up to 30,000 small businesses in Wisconsin could leverage $75 million to restart their operations under a proposal from Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The program, known as “We’re All In,” will provide grants of up to $2,500 to small businesses with 20 or fewer employees that have not previously received aid from WEDC related to the pandemic.

“These grants will help businesses in the short term, and we need Wisconsinites to join our long-term economic recovery by supporting those small businesses as patrons and customers,” said Evers at a media briefing today. “We know that folks need to feel safe and confident as employees and consumers for this to work, so that is why we need to be all in together.”

The state will provide more guidance on applying for the grants in June. Funding for the program comes from the funds allocated to the state by the federal CARES Act.

“We are still encouraging people to stay home as much as possible, practice physical distancing and good hygiene, and take protective measures like wearing a mask in public, but as more businesses continue to reopen around the state, we need to go all in on doing this together,” said Evers.

Evers also announced a program for minority-owned businesses. The $2 million program would provide grants in $2,000 increments to businesses with five or fewer employees who suffered a loss during the pandemic. The state is administering the program in partnership with the 19 ethnic and minority chambers of commerce across the state. Applications are being accepted for that program from May 18th through the 24th. More information on that program can be found on the WEDC website.

“With its comprehensive approach that looks at businesses’ immediate and long-term needs, ‘We’re All In’ will provide both the ‘starter fluid’ to restart our state’s economic engine and a road map to recovery,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. WEDC also announced a new guide for businesses to safely reopen as part of the announcement.

The state program is similar to one proposed by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett last week. The City of Milwaukee would provide grants of up to $15,000 to small businesses to retool their operations to protect customers and employees. The program has an estimated budget of $20 million.

Information on both the city and state grant programs is expected in the coming weeks.

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Categories: Business, Health, Politics

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