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Grant programs and other aid programs are available for businesses, announced Governor Tony Evers. The assistance is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Businesses have faced myriad troubles due to the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our communities. Business owners are being encouraged to apply. These investments will help businesses find their way to an easier recovery.

“We’re working every day to ensure our economy recovers from this pandemic, and part of that means making sure every family, every business, and every community can bounce back,” said Gov. Evers in a press statement earlier in the stages of the assistance program. “These grants will help make sure some of our hardest-hit communities have a fighting chance to rebound and recover while ensuring our state can move forward and build a more prosperous, equitable future.” 

What’s available? Five different grants are in the open application phase currently.

1. Diverse Business Assistance Grant Program

“The $37.5 million Diverse Business Assistance Grant Program will provide support to ethnic and diverse chambers of commerce and other collaboratives that provide technical assistance and services to businesses that have historically been denied access to capital and are owned by members of communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Applications are open now through Jan. 14, 2022. An informational webinar is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 10 at 12:30 p.m. For more information and to submit questions, visit the program DBAG website.

2. Diverse Business Investment Grant Program

“The Diverse Business Investment Grant Program will provide an additional $37.5 million to community development financial institutions (CDFIs), for grants to small and micro-businesses that are owned by members of communities that were historically denied access to capital and those that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”  

Applications are open now through Jan. 14, 2022. An informational webinar is scheduled for Friday, Dec 10 at 1:15 p.m. For more information and to submit questions, visit the DBIGP website.

3. Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program

“The Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program (WERA) provides up to 18 months of assistance with current or overdue bills to help households that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic avoid eviction. More than 25,000 Wisconsinites have already received help with rent and utilities statewide. Help is still available for eligible households through WISCAP agencies and Energy Services. The program is funded by the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program and administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration.”

Applications for this program are ongoing. For helpful information about this program, visit the DOA’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program page.

4. Main Street Bounceback Grants

“The Main Street Bounceback Grants program provides $10,000 to new or existing businesses and non-profit organizations moving into vacant properties in Wisconsin’s downtowns and commercial corridors. The program is open to new or existing businesses opening a new location or expanding operations in a vacant commercial space as of January 1, 2021. Grant funds are available as part of the American Recovery Plan Act and will be distributed by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) regional partners.”

Applications are open through June 30, 2022. Businesses applying for these grants must do so through the partner organization which represents the region in which the businesses are located. Find your region’s contact person. For more information on this program, visit the WECD’s Main Street Bounceback Grants page.

5. Broadband Expansion Grant

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) is now accepting grant applications for the FY22 Broadband Expansion Grant Program. This latest program is funded through the state budget.

Applications are open through March 17, 2022.  An informational webinar will be held on Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. For more information, visit the PSC of Wisconsin’s Broadband Grants page.

For more information on grant programs and other assistance available, as well as relevant local news, subscribe to the Racine County Eye.

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