Evers announces grant program for ethnically diverse micro-businesses

Metro Wire Staff

Gov. Tony Evers on Friday announced a new program that will provide 1,000 “ethnically diverse micro-businesses” negatively affected by COVID-19 closures grants of $2,000 each.

The $2 million initiative is focused on supporting ethnically diverse micro-businesses that have not received the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program or state disaster relief, according to a news release from Evers’ office.

“Small businesses in our minority communities face special challenges,” Evers said. “Many have not received federal or state assistance yet because they are unbanked or don’t have the relationships to financial institutions that other businesses do. Yet these micro-businesses are often the heart and soul of their communities and an important pathway for minority entrepreneurs.”

Businesses may apply if they:

  • Are for-profit, Wisconsin-based and at least 51% minority-owned;
  • Started operating prior to Jan. 1, and were operating as of Feb. 29 this year;
  • Have no more than five (5) full-time equivalent employees, including the owner. Sole proprietorships are also eligible;
  • Operate in the retail, service or hospitality industries; and
  • Have not received any federal assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program, or state aid through the Small Business 20/20 program.

The Ethnic Minority Emergency Grants will be marketed and administered in collaboration with Wisconsin’s 19 ethnic and diverse chambers of commerce, regional economic development organizations, and other partners across the state.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will provide funding for the initiative.

“WEDC is committed to assisting all businesses—of every size and type—throughout Wisconsin,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “Our work with minority chambers of commerce and businesses is an opportunity to reach a critical sector of our business community.”

Business owners must provide documentation relating to their business, including last year’s tax return. Businesses that launched in 2020 are not eligible.

More information about the program is available here.