Almost 55,000 Wisconsin small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic received approximately $240 million last year through the We’re All In grants program – the largest direct-aid program for small businesses in Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) history.
Grant funds can be used for any operating costs, including but not limited to wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory, and/or for health and safety improvements.
In Rock County $4.93 million was awarded in the form of 1,137 awards. Some businesses received more than one award. Looking at grants by industry in Rock County, nearly $1.32 million (172 awards) went to food services and drinking places and $815,000 (189 awards) went to personal and laundry services.
Funded by the federal CARES Act, the We're All In grants were awarded to Wisconsin small businesses in three phases in 2020.
Starting in summer, Phase 1 distributed $65 million to more than 26,000 businesses around the state. The grants were administered by WEDC, with each receiving a $2,500 grant.
Due to greater demand and limited resources, Phase 2 grants were targeted toward industries hit hardest by the pandemic, as well as diverse businesses and businesses that had not received Phase 1 grants. These businesses received $5,000 awards. In the fall, Phase 2 provided $130 million to more than 26,000 businesses. The program was created by WEDC but received technical and customer service assistance from the Department of Revenue (DOR).
Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 grants were aimed at businesses with less than $1 million in annual revenue.
In the late fall, Phase 3, We're All in For Restaurants, targeted food, beverage and amusement businesses with annual revenues between $1 million and $7 million, with each qualified business receiving $20,000. More than 2,000 Wisconsin businesses received these grants, which were also administered by DOR in collaboration with WEDC.
In Janesville, the following recipients listed as “food services and drinking places” were awarded $20,000 in Phase 3: Cornerstone Grill, Cozumel Mexican Restaurant, Bloomin Apple Janesville, Janesville Operating, Janesville WI 2011, East Point Sportz Pub, Ilir Banushi, Italian House, OM Janesvillle, Hacienda Real of WI, Hhffrrrggh, Hewson Brothers WI, Mallon Enterprises, Gills Food Plover, MCDJ, Randys Funhunters Brewery, Degas Dogs, Macs Pizza Shack, Saalsaa Group Two, Fuji Yang Inc, Domenico Pizza and Restaurant.
Barkleys received $12,500 in Phase 3 and $5,000 in Phase 2 and $2,500 in Phase 1.
Janesville Athletic Club also received $20,000 in Phase 3.
In Edgerton, Coachman’s Inn Enterprises and KDM Anchor received $20,000 in Phase 3.
In Evansville, The Night Owl Food & Spirits, Smmak Subs and Evansville Golf Association received $20,000 in Phase 3.
In Milton, there were no $20,000 awards.
Countywide, most awards were either $5,000 or $2,500.
Janesville businesses received 480 awards; Milton 103; Edgerton, 104; Evansville, 110.
Milton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dani Stivarius said Milton consists of a lot of small businesses, which she said are the backbone of the community.
Stivarius said the We’re All In and Paycheck Protection Program funds helped businesses keep their doors open that might not have been able to get through the pandemic.
DOR and WEDC posted a searchable online database at www.revenue.wi.gov of recipients and the amounts they received.
Additionally, an online interactive data visualization map of the state of Wisconsin highlights where businesses are located and what industries received the grants.