Payroll Protection Program plus 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.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Reopens

Via the new COVID relief bill signed on December 27, 2020, the SBA announced the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with an additional $284 billion for small businesses.

Starting Monday, January 11, community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP loans (for new PPP borrowers), and on Wednesday, January 13, those same institutions will be able to make Second Draw PPP loans available. This new round will conclude on March 31, 2021.

Key Changes for This Round of PPP Loans

Maximum Loan Amount of $2 million

  • Most borrowers may receive a loan amount up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs in 2019, or the 12 months before the loan application.
  • Borrowers in the accommodations and food services sectors (NACIS industry code of 72) can receive a loan amount of 3.5 times their average monthly payroll costs in 2019 or the12 months before the loan application.

Second Draw PPP Loans

Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan. A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:

  • Was in business before February 15, 2020
  • Has fewer than 300 employees
  • Used, or will use, prior PPP loan if previously received
  • Can demonstrate at least 25% revenue decrease in gross receipts* during any quarter of 2020 (compared to the same quarter in 2019)

Expanded Use of Funds

Businesses will still need to spend at least 60% on payroll expenses, which the program specifies includes employer-provided group insurance. The 60-40 cost allocation between payroll (salary, commissions, bonuses, wages, group health/dental/vision insurance, group retirement) and non-payroll costs will continue to apply. For the self-employed, salary only applies. For the remaining 40% – in addition to mortgage/rent and utilities – funds can also be spent on:

  • Operations expenditures (i.e. software and cloud computing needs)
  • Property damage costs due to public disturbance
  • Supplier costs for supplies ordered before the loan was received, or perishable goods ordered before or during the loan
  • PPE equipment for employees purchased to comply with guidance from the Department of Health & Human Services, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control, or a state or local government

Additional Changes

  • Borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs
  • 501(c)(6)s – housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, etc. are now eligible to apply for PPP funds
  • The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount

Preparing (for First Draw PPP Loans):

  • Make sure your lender plans to work with the PPP program (not all will).
  • If they do, ask your desired lender what you may need to complete the application (e.g., operating agreement/bylaws, articles of incorporation, verification of tax id, copy of drivers’ licenses for signators).


More about the Paycheck Protection Program

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

We’re All In Small Business Grant – Phase 2

WEDC is again providing small business grants. This round includes $50 million in additional funding to be dispersed in $5,000 increments to approximately 10,000 qualifying businesses.

Program Summary

  • $5,000 grants – applications are open to first round recipients, as well as those who missed the first round.
  • Grants will be awarded based on annual revenue ($0 to less than $1 million per year) and number of employees (1 to 50 FTE employees) in 2019.
  • Priority will be given to businesses that did not receive funding during the first round and to ethnic minority-owned businesses.
    • The program has a limited application window:  8:00 a.m. Monday, 10/19 to 11:59 p.m.  Monday, 11/2.
    • Applications MUST be submitted online to the WI Department of Revenue – note this is a streamlined process compared to phase 1 (e.g., no letter of support necessary).
    • This is not a first-come-first-served application process – applications will be reviewed following the close of the application period.

For more information, visit the “We’re All In” Small Business Grant FAQ (information provided in numerous languages).

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 The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act and Wisconsin Small Business Development Center

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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