As we move along through the current situation we are seeing signs of improvement in the economy. We are working to assist our area small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has announced a new grant program, the “We’re All In” program has been released and the application window is fast approaching. This program is for businesses with less than 20 full-time employees and makes more than 0 but less than $1Million in annual revenue, and must have been in business prior to February of 2020. This is a grant of $2,500 to the business, it will be considered taxable income, the business will receive a 1099 form for tax purposes. Our small retail and service-based businesses are the target of this program, however, farmers are not eligible. The WEDC website (WEDC.org) gives the details of what you will need to apply, including tax/revenue information. The application window is open only 1 week, do not procrastinate on this if you have interest. The WEDC is planning to issue 30,000 grants around the state. During a meeting I had with WEDC, they indicated that various scoring criteria will be used and that they will work to make sure these grants are issued to businesses in all 72 counties. The WEDC stated during the meeting that the application does not take long to complete and submit. Applicants will need a letter from a recognized entity stating that the business was in business prior to 2020. My office can issue such a letter as well as the Fennimore Chamber.
Another program in the works is through the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) and is being titled the “Micro Enterprise Grant”. The target audience of this business grant is very similar to the WEDC program but the details have not been finalized. When I was talking with DOA they were thinking grants up to $10,000 per business. I believe this may be reduced. They only had approximately $16MM to utilize in the program, which may sound like a lot but think of the demand and number of businesses. Now this program funds could only be used by businesses in “non-entitlement” counties, which generally means more rural counties. The 7 counties that make up the Milwaukee Metro area would not qualify. Dane County does not qualify either. As stated above, this program is still being developed and I believe the main delay is that the Federal Government agency HUD needed to approve the program guidelines and this commonly takes time. When I see any details on this program I will send it out to the area chambers of commerce and economic development corporations and any businesses that I am aware of that is in need and qualifies for these programs.
Keep in mind that my office is available to assist as are the local chambers and the small business development center. We strive to keep our website up to date to assist you all, www.grantcounty.org for more information and contact info. Stay Safe!
Ron Brisbois, Grant County Economic Development Corporation