City of Milwaukee Department of City Development
Press Release

Milwaukee Restart 2.0 Begins Grant Distribution

Program Provides Assistance to Small Business During Pandemic

The City of Milwaukee has started distributing grants to small businesses in the second round of the Milwaukee Business Restart Program.  In total, the city expects to distribute up to $10-million in this round of Restart.

“As the pandemic continues to limit the ability of many small businesses to operate normally, the grants from Restart can be very important to them. The city’s hope is that jobs can be preserved and neighborhood character can be maintained,” Mayor Tom Barrett said. “Milwaukee is a resilient community, and that resilience is being tested as the COVID-19 impacts continue.”

Restart uses federal relief funds to assist established Milwaukee businesses as they recover from COVID-19-related setbacks.  The Restart program closed the application process in early October.

As of today, 728 grant applications have been approved for small businesses.  A total of more than $9-million has been committed to those approved businesses.

The Department of City Development is still reviewing 59 applications which, if approved, will bring the total distributions to nearly $10-million. $1.7-million has already been sent to the grant recipients.

Of the approved Restart applications, about 50% of the businesses are minority owned. More than 45% are women owned.

Established Milwaukee businesses with twenty or fewer full time equivalent employees and annual revenue of less than $2-million were eligible to participate.  Businesses that previously received Restart grants could apply again, but no business will receive a combined total of more than $25-thousand.

In addition to grants for personal protective equipment, restocking perishable inventory, and physical improvements to reduce COVID-19 spread, grantees can use money from this round of Restart for some rent and utility payments and winterizing outdoor spaces.

A wide range of businesses applied for grants in categories such as retail, hospitality, and service businesses. In the latest round of the Restart program, several new categories of businesses were added including home based businesses, food trucks, licensed daycares and state licensed group homes.

City government is working collaboratively with the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation on Restart 2.0.  Additionally, the City engaged the Latino Entrepreneurial Network, the Milwaukee Urban League, and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation to assist small businesses in preparing the online application.

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