Gov. Tony Evers awarded more than $86 million in grants Monday through the Diverse Business Assistance and Diverse Business Investment Grant Programs to support small businesses in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Part of a larger project for economic resilience, these assistance and investment grant programs were first announced in October 2021 to mitigate post-pandemic economic distress in Wisconsin by providing the skills, resources and capital needed for such affected businesses to recover. Many of the selected communities have historically struggled with accessing credit and capital, and the effects of COVID-19 have been felt sorely by their local economy.
“We’re continuing to build a strong and resilient economy that works for everyone, and that means encouraging business development in communities that have been hit hard by the pandemic and often face barriers to getting the tools and resources they need to be successful,” Evers said.
Of the resources dedicated, $57.6 million in grants were given through the Diverse Business Assistance Grant Program to 24 chambers of commerce and nonprofit organizations, which in turn will provide support such as business mentoring, technical assistance, equipment and internet services, digital and financial literacy support, social media marketing training, financial aid and networking and training opportunities for new entrepreneurs and businesses.
“By supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs, these grant programs will ensure job growth, stronger communities and a brighter, more equitable future for Wisconsin,” Evers said.
An additional $28.8 million in grants were awarded through the Diverse Business Investment Grant Program to nine Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Funding for CDFIs will support the assistance of small businesses through providing access to capital and credit as well as programs that provide additional technical assistance, mentoring and credit counseling.
“Local chambers, nonprofit organizations, CDFIs and other organizations selected for these grants work closely with local businesses and are uniquely positioned to provide technical assistance and expertise to help diverse businesses succeed,” Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld said. “We’re proud to support these efforts and ensure that many more of our communities can experience a strong recovery.”
Alex Tan is a staff writer for the Daily Cardinal specializing in state politics coverage. Follow him on Twitter at @dxvilsavocado.