Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced Monday that his administration will invest an additional $25 million to a fund making grants to storefront small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Evers made the announcement at events alongside Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. Evers said the programs has already helped more than 4,200 small businesses and nonprofits across all 72 Wisconsin counties. In total, the announcement brings the governor’s total investment in the program to $75 million, which the administration said will enable 2,500 more small businesses and nonprofits to fill empty storefronts throughout the state.
The grants are administered by regional economic development agencies.
A recent analysis of state allocations showed that as a share of federal aid received by states, Wisconsin ranks second in the country for aid directed to economic development and first in the country in aid to businesses.
“The impact we’ve had through our Main Street Bounceback Grant Program over the last year has been tremendous, truly helping small businesses and main streets in every corner of our state,” Evers said in a statement. “We’ve heard from folks from across the state about how these funds have helped them take their businesses to the next level. We’ve also seen firsthand how these investments have helped support local economies in downtowns and communities that are now filled with unique businesses that otherwise might not be there today. I’m proud of our work making strategic investments in small businesses and I’m excited that today’s announcement means we’ll be able to continue our work supporting main streets and communities across Wisconsin.”
The Main Street Bounceback Grant Program was first announced in April 2021, and since, more than 4,200 small businesses and nonprofits across all 72 Wisconsin counties have been approved for $10,000 grants to help them move or expand into vacant commercial spaces.
“From barbershops to candy stores and from physical therapists to local economic development groups, the businesses and organizations that have received Main Street Bounceback grants vary widely,” Hughes said in a statement. “But what we’re hearing from all of the communities where these businesses are opening is the sense of excitement that they bring. Whether it’s a new restaurant, a hair salon, or an accounting business, there’s a feeling that there are new reasons to come to our downtowns and spend a little more time there.”
The deadline for grant applications for the Main Street Bounceback Grant Program has been extended to Dec. 31, 2022, and grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until all the funds are disbursed. WEDC is working with nine regional economic development organizations to quickly disburse grant funding to eligible businesses and nonprofit organizations. More information about the Main Street Bounceback Grant Program and how to apply is available on the WEDC website here.