WEDC extends small business grant deadline

The deadline to apply for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s COVID-19 relief grant has been extended, the WEDC announced yesterday.

The “We’re All In” program provides $2,500 grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. A total of 26,000 businesses had applied as of Tuesday, which is when applications were originally scheduled to close.

Small businesses will now have until tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. to apply for the small businesses grants. The deadline was changed to give businesses more time to secure needed documents and submit their information to the WEDC.

Grant eligibility requirements include businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees and with an annual revenue of less than $1 million.

To be eligible, a business must be a for-profit, Wisconsin-based business that was in operation prior to Jan. 1, 2020 and that has been in operation as of Feb. 2020.

As of 11 a.m. today, 10,000 business have applied, said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and chief executive officer. However, grants will not be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis. The WEDC will begin disbursing “We’re All In” initiative grants at the end of June and beginning of July.

Instead, grants will be reviewed for eligibility and will be scored, ranked, and awarded based on industries that were impacted by the pandemic the most, community distress and geographic dispersion.

The WEDC anticipates the $75 million will be used to assist a total of 30,000 businesses in Wisconsin. Funded largely by federal funds received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the initiative will provide direct assistance to small businesses impacted by the duration and restrictions of the pandemic.

The “We’re All In” initiative also includes $2 million in Ethnic Minority Emergency Grants, which provides grants for ethnically diverse micro-businesses that have sustained financial loss due to the pandemic. One thousand grants of $2,000 each will be administered in partnership with Wisconsin’s 19 ethnic and minority chambers of commerce.

Those grants are aimed at sole proprietorships or businesses with five or fewer employees that have not received assistance under either the SB 20/20 program or the U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program.

The initiative also establishes a set of guidelines to help businesses implement best practices to keep employees, customers, and customers safe when they reopen.

Click here to apply.

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Brandon covers startups, technology, manufacturing. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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