Gov. Evers announces $75M in funding to support small businesses

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday a $75 million fund to help small businesses as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s We’re All In initiative.

The WEDC’s initiative was established to help local businesses bounce back while maintaining safe environments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Wisconsinites have done an incredible job of banding together throughout this crisis and it’s more important than ever for us to continue respecting each other, supporting each other, holding each other accountable and protecting those who are vulnerable,” Evers said. “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.”

Funded mostly by federal money received due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, the fund will give money directly to local businesses that have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Businesses can apply for the $2,500 cash grants to help pay for health and safety improvements, wages, rent, mortgages and inventory, according to a news release.

If chosen as a grant recipient, local businesses will become We’re All In businesses by committing to safety protocols for their places of work in order to protect customers, employees and their communities.

Up to 30,000 businesses could receive funding.

Businesses must have fewer than 20 full time employees to qualify for the grant.

The applications go live in early June. More information about the grants is expected to be released in late May.

WEDC’s We’re All In initiative also includes guidelines for how businesses can safely reopen, $2 million worth of grants for ethnically diverse Wisconsin micro-businesses that have been hit especially hard, and a public information campaign promoting practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.