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How small business grants have helped ‘smallest of the small’ businesses bounce back

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- Back in March the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) launched a $5 million grant program targeting some of the "smallest of the small" businesses from around Wisconsin that suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Small Business 20/20 grants awarded 763 small businesses with an average of $8,900 to help.

"State government and especially the WEDC are wanting to do what we can to help," WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said. "We want to understand what they're going through so we can find solutions together and work on things together."

A small business immediately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is Jansen's Eagle Lake Resort in Eagle River.

The owner, Brian Jansen, said he relies on his summer seasons to get through the rest of the year with the bills, since the business itself is seasonal. The grant helped make up for two months lost because of the pandemic. The doors to the resort are now opened and booked through August.

"Knowing that the mortgages will be paid until September is good, so it's enabling us to save as much money as possible during these months of July and August," Jansen said. "To help us get through the winter months while we're not going to be able to open."

The WEDC encourages small businesses that may be struggling to continue to seek help and look for available grants as the pandemic continues.

Rashad Williams

News 9 Reporter

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