Grants and loans for small businesses and nonprofits during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is leaving many Wisconsin businesses struggling and scrambling to find a way to manage through this public health crisis. Federal and State leaders moved quickly to provide resources to small businesses. Our goal is to provide clear, concise information and to provide access to valuable resources for Wisconsin’s small businesses and supporting partners.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

The US Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is intended to provide low-interest federal disaster loans to small businesses. Small businesses suffering economic injury during the COVID-19 pandemic are able to apply for working capital loans up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue due to this crisis. Important information:

  • Primary qualification for small businesses is to show a loss of revenue as of January 31, 2020 to now (or in the future) as compared to 2019 financial performance.
  • Small businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, and 501(c)(6) economic development organizations are eligible to apply.
  • Loan may be used to pay payroll, fixed debts, accounts payable, and other bills unable to be paid due to the crisis.
  • Loans can be deferred up to twelve months, but interest does accrue during this period.
  • Life of loan may not exceed 30 years.

For more information, see For more information, see The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act and Wisconsin Small Business Development Center

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offers small businesses access to forgivable loans to help survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP loans are intended to infuse capital into businesses to help retain employees. Small businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(19) veteran organizations, and Tribal businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to apply. Size standards vary based on industry and include either number of employees or total sales (see US SBA size standards). Individual sole proprietorships and independent contractors are also eligible for loans. Loans will be forgiven if employers maintain their payroll. Important information:

  • Forgiveness loans for businesses that maintain payroll up to 8 weeks.
  • Loans are deferred at least 6 months (and up to one year).
  • Eligibility is based on businesses in existence on or before February 15, 2020.
  • Loans cover businesses harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30,2020.
  • The PPP is retroactive for businesses that laid off workers dating back to February 15, 2020.
  • Loans are available through June 30, 2020
  • Loans can be utilized to cover eligible costs including: payroll and employee compensation (wages, salary, commission, etc.), leave (vacation, parental, family, medical, and sick), payments for benefits (health care benefits, insurance premiums, retirement), payments of State or local tax assessed employee compensation, payments of interest on mortgage and other debt obligations, rent, and utilities.
  • Loans need to be used to cover 75 percent salary and payroll, while the remaining 25 percent can be utilized for other expenses.

For a video demonstration of how to apply: SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application Walkthrough

For more information, see The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act and Wisconsin Small Business Development Center

PPP Loan Forgiveness Application and Instructions

Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant (EMEG) Initiative

The WEDC has funded the Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant (EMEG) initiative and will award grants of $2,000 per company to ethnic minority-owned businesses with five or fewer full-time equivalent employees (including the owner) in the retail, service or hospitality sectors that have not received assistance through the Small Business 20/20 Program or the federal CARES Act and/or Paycheck Protection Program. For more information see Helping Minority-Owned Micro-Businesses Weather the Storm. 

LISC Small Business Relief Grants

Grants are available to support small businesses and enterprises affected by COVID-19, especially those in underserved communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses that often lack access to flexible, affordable capital.

Read more and apply for a small business relief grant.

En Español

Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Emergency Loan Fund

The Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (HWCC) has an Emergency Loan Fund (COVID-19) in response to the negative impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the Wisconsin business community. See eligibility and application details. 

WWBIC COVID-19 Fast Track Loan Program

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) COVID-19 Fast Track Loan Program is focused on existing businesses looking for business financing during COVID-19. Business owners may receive a line of credit or a term loan.


IFF has worked with over 100 nonprofits in eight Midwest states to get their loans to the closing/funding stage.  Learn more about how IFF works with nonprofits and how to use their services to apply for the Payroll Protection Program.

The Red Backpack Fund

Learn what women-owned businesses are eligible to apply for a $5,000 grant. 

Apply for a grant

Small Business 20/20 Program

The Small Business 20/20 Program through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provides grants to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to award grants up to $20,000 to existing loan clients. The Small Business 20/20 program is meant to assist businesses with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is for existing Wisconsin business that currently have a loan through an approved CDFI.

For more information, see Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Want to learn more, or want to see how Extension can assist? Contact Community Economic Development program for general inquiries or reach out to your local county Educator for specific assistance.

Save Small Business Fund

The Save Small Business Fund is a grantmaking initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories. This is an initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

To apply, you must run a small business or chamber of commerce with between 3-20 employees (including yourself and not including independent contractors). The business must be located in an economically vulnerable community. This is defined as the bottom 80% of the most economically distressed zip codes in the United States, as ranked by the Distressed Communities Index. Before starting the application, you will be asked for the zip code where you are registered by the IRS as doing business, which will confirm your eligibility.  Apply now >

Additional Resources

Small Business Administration Bridge Loans

Small Business Administration Debt Relief 

Wisconsin Small Business Development Center

US Small Business Administration

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

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