Wisconsin aids minority-owned businesses in new coronavirus-relief program.

Wisconsin minority-owned businesses with less than five employees may be eligible to receive a $2,000 grant. Graphic: Sam Buisman

Author: Sam Buisman

The Wisconsin state government announced a COVID-19 relief program targeting minority-owned small businesses on Friday.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has launched the Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant Initiative, which will award one-time $2,000 grants to 1,000 minority-owned businesses with five or fewer employees. These grants will be limited to such businesses that have not yet received federal or state relief.

However, while commenting on this initiative in a press release, Governor Tony Evers framed this qualification as a matter of equity.

“Small businesses in our minority communities face special challenges,” said the Governor. “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.”

According to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a business will qualify for a grant under this program if it is a for-profit Wisconsin business that is at least 51% minority-owned and in either the retail, service or hospitality sector, with five or fewer full-time employees. However, any such business that has received federal aid through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program or through Wisconsin’s Small Business 20/20 Program will be ineligible for these grants.

Interested businesses can apply through an online application portal which will open from May 18 to 24.