WEDC will distribute an additional $50 million to small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in the second round of We’re All In Small Business Grants, which open for applications Oct. 19.

The first phase of the program provided more than $65 million in grants to more than 26,000 businesses statewide this past summer. Despite the infusion of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds distributed by WEDC, however, many Wisconsin small businesses continue to struggle. The new round aims to provide grants of $5,000 each to 10,000 additional Wisconsin small businesses.

In the upcoming grant round, businesses are eligible to apply even if they received funds under the first round of We’re All In Grants or the Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant initiative. Priority will be given to businesses that have not previously received funds from either of the first two programs, those with ethnically diverse ownership, and those in the hardest-hit sectors, such as restaurants and taverns, hair and nail salons and barbershops, and other services.

To be eligible for the second round of We’re All In Grants, an applicant must:

  • be a Wisconsin-based, for-profit business;
  • in 2019, have 75% or more of company labor costs in Wisconsin and 75% of their assets in Wisconsin;
  • earn more than $0 and less than $1 million in annual revenues (gross sales and receipts);
  • have started operating prior to Jan. 1, 2020 (seasonal businesses should use the highest total FTEs employed during the season); and
  • have filed their 2019 taxes.

Round 2 of We’re All In Grant funding was part of a package of initiatives announced by Governor Tony Evers over the last two days, including $100 million for various economic stabilization efforts and nearly $50 million in support for child care, health care navigators, and energy and rental assistance.

The grant application period will open at 8 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 19, and will close at 11:59 p.m. Monday Nov. 2.

Applications will be accepted on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website, and details about the grants—including eligibility requirements, limitations and the documentation needed to apply—are already available for applicants to review. Applicants that are unable to apply online may request assistance by calling the Wisconsin Department of Revenue at 608.266.2772.