Wisconsin to award $5,000 grants to small businesses

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More than 9,000 Wisconsin businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are slated to receive grants of up to $5,000, Gov. Tony Evers announced.

The grants are for businesses who applied for pandemic relief through Wisconsin’s “We’re All In” program, an initiative aimed at supporting small businesses throughout the state.

“Our small businesses have had to innovate to stay afloat this past year and that’s why it’s critically important we make sure they have the resources to recover and bounce back from this pandemic,” Evers said in a statement.

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The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has awarded $240 million in We’re All In grants to small businesses in three phases in the first year of the pandemic.

  • Phase 1 and Phase 2 grants were for businesses with less than $1 million in annual revenue, regardless of industry.
  • Phase 1 distributed $65 million to about 26,000 businesses with each business receiving $2,500 grants.
  • Phase 2 grants targeted industries hit hardest by the pandemic, diverse businesses, and businesses that had not received Phase 1 grants.
  • Phase 2 distributed $130 million to more than 26,000 businesses with each business receiving $5,000 grants.
  • Phase 3 targeted restaurants and food, beverage, and amusement businesses with annual revenues of between $1 million and $7 million, with each business receiving $20,000 grants.
  • Phase 3 distributed $40 million to 2,000 businesses.

Phase 4, which includes $46 million in grants, is funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Phase 2 applicants who did not receive funding will be eligible for grants during this phase, according to a press release.

While CARES Act funds were slated to expire at the end of 2020, a federal bill signed before the end of the year extended the deadline until the end of 2021.

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During the pandemic, Wisconsin has used more than $370 million in CARES funds to support 53,000 small businesses, more than 15,000 farms, and the lodging, hospitality and tourism industries.

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