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Nearly $240 million grants provided to small businesses

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.

Funded by the federal CARES Act, the We’re All In grants were awarded to Wisconsin small businesses in three phases, throughout the 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 the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (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 the WEDC, but received technical and customer service assistance from the Department of Revenue (DOR).

Because of 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.

The phases of grants were aimed at businesses with less than $1 million in annual revenue, regardless of industry.

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.

“The intent for all of the We’re All In grants, was to get help to as many small businesses as we could, as quickly as we could,” said WEDC secretary/CEO Missy Hughes. “I’m pleased WEDC was able to work with DOR, to help us identify many of the businesses that were struggling the most.”