WEDC awards $34 million to help support small businesses

Last updated on April 28th, 2022 at 08:51 am

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) has awarded approximately $34 million so far to over 3,400 small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the state through the Main Street Bounceback Program.

The goal of the program is to provide financial support to businesses that move into existing vacant commercial properties, revitalizing the business communities of municipalities across the state. Each business receives $10,000, which comes from American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

“Small businesses are an essential part of our state and local economies,” said Gov. Tony Evers in a statement. “This program is about making sure we’re investing in our long-term economic success by helping entrepreneurs and new business owners achieve their business dreams while revitalizing main streets in every corner of our state, creating jobs, gathering places, and new opportunities for communities.”

Within the city of Milwaukee, 538 different businesses have received one of the $10,000 grants. Other municipalities that received a substantial amount of help from the Main Street Bounceback Program include Racine with 145 businesses, Mount Pleasant with 143 businesses, and the City of West Bend, which has over 40 businesses that received funding through the program.

“So far, the City of West Bend assisted more than 50 small businesses apply for Bounceback Grants,” said Jessica Wildes, communications and economic development director. “This infusion of funding has been transformational in filling vacant storefronts and office space downtown and throughout the community.”

Several other southeastern Wisconsin communities also received funding. West Allis has 26 businesses that took part in the program, Mequon has 28, Kenosha has 24, Sheboygan has 28, Waukesha has 15, Brookfield has 15, Port Washington has 13, Glendale has 10 and Menomonee Falls has nine.

Since the program’s inception in 1987, Wisconsin Main Street community projects have resulted in the creation of more than 3,000 new businesses and nearly 16,000 net new jobs. In addition, $2.5 billion in public and private investment has occurred in Wisconsin Main Street communities.

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.