By Josh Staloch
GREEN BAY – Since the pandemic’s onset, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has approved more than $40 million in grants to more than 15,000 small businesses across Wisconsin.
The funds are available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
The WEDC continues to help those who need, and a new campaign – We’re All In – was touted during an event at Copper State Brewing Aug. 6.
“It’s with a spirit of community that we’re launching the We’re All In initiative,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO. “We have such a spirit of taking care of our neighbors and of each other here in Wisconsin. It’s important for us to think about taking care of our health and our safety in order for our economy to regain momentum. We’ve got to tie these two things together.”
Hughes said the All In for Wisconsin campaign means doing simple things medical professionals have been recommending for months, preventative measures people can take to slow the spread of the virus; wear a mask, wash hands often and avoid gathering in close quarters.
“It’s really pretty straightforward. We know how to do it, we know how to take this thing on,” Hughes said. “We just have to decide to do it together. So, We’re All In means we’re all in for getting this done and moving through this so we can get through to the other side of it.”
Green Bay District 9 Alderman Brian Johnson said the WEDC is making a difference in people’s lives through its investment in Main Street businesses across the state, which have been hit hard by the pandemic’s economic fallout.
Johnson said small businesses, like Pete’s Garage on Broadway – which was deemed essential at the onset of the pandemic and adapted to conditions to operate in a manner safe for employees and customers – might not be able to react as swiftly as larger businesses in regards to changes from the pandemic.
That’s where community support becomes as invaluable as the funds currently being appropriated by the WEDC to the businesses that need them, he said.
Johnson said having a healthy Main Street, is having a community with a healthy heart, and this campaign helps.
“There are those who are understandably alarmed by the public health crisis our community faces,” he said, “and there are those who are equally concerned about the threats facing our local economy. They’re not mutually exclusive and I want to emphasize that it’s OK to be equally concerned about both and it shouldn’t preclude us from driving solutions that must coexist.”