More than 200 Wisconsin small businesses will split $3 million in funding for their innovative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation recently announced.These small businesses were selected as part of the “We’re All Innovating” contest, which WEDC launched in the fall to recognize and promote the creative ways that startups and small businesses are adapting to the challenges of the pandemic.The grants range from $800 to $52,000 and are designed to reimburse the selected companies for their expenses in creating the innovations between March 1 and Dec. 30.“Wisconsin is known for its can-do spirit and its big ideas,” Governor Tony Evers said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired businesses to find new ways to fight the virus, operate their businesses, and meet the needs of our community. After looking at these winning projects, I’m truly in awe of these folks’ ingenuity, imagination, and creativity.”Out of the 231 companies selected to receive funds, 17 of those companies were selected as “winners” based on metrics such as the innovation’s ability to address the impact of COVID-19, significance of the innovation, progress made on the innovation versus work yet to be completed, and more.The judges selected winners in three categories:
Technology innovation to address COVID-19 impacts on health
Technology innovation to address COVID-19 impacts on businesses
Service and business operation innovations to respond to COVID-19 disruption
Milwaukee-based Novir LLC received the top award for developing a detection test for antibodies found in people who have already contracted COVID-19. The company, which received a $52,000 grant, is slated to produce 100,000 tests per month and is currently pending U.S. Food and Drug Administration review.Milwaukee-based Plutoview took second in the competition and received a $25,000 grant. The company developed a distance learning and remote collaboration platform, which allows up to 100 users to work together.Burlington-based eCourt Reporters, which received a $16,500 grant, took third in the competition for its mobile and online platform that connects court reporters, attorneys, legal videographers and government entities. The startup also developed training videos and offered one-on-one training sessions to help people adapt to new digital processes in the legal system.Click here for a full list of all 17 winners.