The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will begin accepting applications online for the $75 million We’re All In Small Business Grant (WSBG) program beginning at 8 a.m. on June 15, WEDC officials announced recently. The application process ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 21st.
The program, which will provide $2,500 grants to 30,000 small businesses, is designed to help small businesses get back on their feet amid the COVID-19 pandemic while also encouraging them to adopt best practices to keep employees, customers and communities safe.
“Small businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC Secretary and CEO. “The We’re All In Small Business Grants are intended to provide the ‘starter fluid’ to get these economic engines running again.”
Funded primarily by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the grants will help small businesses with the costs of business interruption or health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory.
FAQs about the grant and the materials businesses will need to apply can be found at wedc.org/WAI-Small-Business-Grant. The online grant application will be accessible at the same site from 8 a.m. Monday, June 15, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 21.
A business may apply for the We’re All In Small Business Grant if it:
• Was in business in February 2020. Businesses that started in 2020 are not eligible;
• Is Wisconsin-based and for-profit;
• Employs 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, including the owner; and
• Has more than $0 but less than $1 million in annual revenues.
Businesses will not be eligible for the grants if they are:
• Part of a national chain, unless the business is a third-party franchise;
• Industries covered by other Wisconsin CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund programs are ineligible for this program. These are: Crop Production; Animal Production or Aquaculture; Lessors of Residential Buildings and Dwellings
To prepare for the online application process, businesses should be ready to upload the following documents to the WEDC application:
• 2018 or 2019 federal tax return for business. (If you started your business in 2020, you are not eligible for this grant.)
• Signed W-9 form available at www.irs.gov
• An email or letter of acknowledgement from a community organization indicating your business was in operation in February 2020. Letters or emails can be from any of the following: Chamber of commerce; Main Street or Connect ; Communities organization; Local business improvement district; Neighborhood economic development association; Local economic development organization; County economic development organization; Municipality, including tribal government; County; Local bank, credit union or community development financial institution; Regional UW Small Business Development Center; U.S Export Assistance Center – Wisconsin; Regional economic development organization Regional Planning Commission; Trade association. Sample text for a letter or email can be found at wedc.org/WAI-Small-Business-Grant.
• Three-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that best fits their business. This information may be included in a business’s tax return, or through the NAICS website: https://www.naics.com/naics-code-description/.
Grant recipients will become We’re All In businesses by pledging to safety protocols and using them in their shops, cafes and places of work to protect their customers, employees, and communities. This network of Main Street businesses will form the backbone of the broader We’re All In initiative, along with support from major Wisconsin businesses, communities and other associations to show support for best health and safety practices in the workplace.