On Friday, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) announced almost 55,000 state small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic received approximately $240 million last year through the We’re All In grants program – the largest direct-aid program for small businesses in WEDC history.
“Wisconsin’s small businesses have exemplified remarkable resilience throughout this pandemic, finding new, innovative ways to keep the doors open and the lights on. But it wasn’t easy, and I am glad we were able to provide this critically needed support,” said Gov. Evers. “We aren’t out of the woods just yet, and it is vital that we continue to support our local businesses and their employees to help them get through these tough times.”
Funded by the federal CARES Act, the We’re All In grants were awarded to Wisconsin small businesses in three phases throughout first year of the pandemic.
Starting in the summer, Phase 1 distributed $65 million to more than 26,000 businesses around the state. The grants were administered by WEDC, with each receiving a $2,500 grant.
In the fall, Phase 2 provided $130 million to more than 26,000 businesses. The program was created by WEDC but received technical and customer service assistance from the DOR. Due to greater demand and limited resources, Phase 2 grants were targeted toward industries hit hardest by the pandemic, as well as diverse businesses and businesses that had not received Phase 1 grants. Businesses received $5,000 awards.
In the late fall, Phase 3, We’re All in For Restaurants, was specifically targeted at food, beverage, and amusement businesses with annual revenues between $1 million and $7 million, with each qualified business receiving $20,000. More than 2,000 received these grants, which were also administered by DOR in collaboration with WEDC.