By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
It is no secret that the economy has taken a hit due to the pandemic. States across the nation are reopening and with them are the small businesses trying to stay afloat.
Earlier this week, Gov. Tony Evers announced a grant program as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s We’re All In initiative.
The program is funded through the federal program, Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, better known as the CARES Act. Through this funding, Evers has allocated $75 million in assistance for small businesses, according to the press release.
Wisconsin small businesses will be able to apply for grants that help cover wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory. Each grant is worth up to $2,500.
“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 in the press release.
He added that people are still encouraged to stay home as much as possible to continue practice social distancing and good hygiene practices, which include washing one’s hands for at least 20 seconds and wearing a mask in public. Grant recipients are expected to follow safety protocols.
“As more business continue to reopen around the state, we need to go all in on doing this together,” he said.
Evers explained that the grants are to help businesses in the short term.
“We need Wisconsinites to join our long-term economic recovery by supporting these small businesses as patrons and customers,” he said.
To apply for the grants, small businesses must comply to the guidelines set by Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). For example, a small business means a business with 20 or few full-time employees. Applicants must not have received COVID-19 assistance from WEDC. For more information, businesses can go wedc.org.
“With its comprehensive approach that looks at businesses’ immediate and long-term needs, We’re All In will provide both the ‘starter fluid’ to restart our state’s economic engine and a road map to recovery,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO, in the press release.
In addition to Wisconsin’s We’re All In initiative, Mayor Tom Barrett recently announced the Milwaukee Business Restart program, which aims to assist local businesses in Milwaukee as they begin to reopen, according to the press release.
“Small businesses play a vital role in creating jobs, in driving our economy, and in maintaining the character of neighborhoods all across Milwaukee,” Barrett said.
He added, “I want our local businesses to have a fighting chance to get back to profitability as we adapt to new public health requirements and expectations.”
Through the Restart program, Milwaukee businesses can apply for up to $15,000 to cover the cost of the following: the purchase of personal protective equipment for employees, investments in modifications to business spaces and operations to reduce the spread of the disease and restocking perishable inventory.
With both these measures and several more in place, local leaders hope to restart Wisconsin’s economy.