MILWAUKEE — Gov. Tony Evers announced $75 million in grants to aid small businesses on Tuesday.
TMJ4 News spoke with two business owners along Water Street. One has been open for six years and another is getting ready to open for the first time. Both business owners said these investments are crucial.
"Some businesses were especially hard hit and haven't been able to recover at the same pace. This is especially true for communities of color and diverse businesses,” Evers said during a press conference outside the Dominican Center in Milwaukee.
$75 million will be split evenly into two programs: the diverse business assistance grant and the diverse business investment grant. The money comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
One grant will help local chambers of commerce find ways to aid small businesses. The other will assist lending institutions who focus on helping underserved communities. This will allow them to help businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
The news is welcomed at Trusted Kicks, a Black-owned shoe consignment store in year six of doing business downtown.
"It's definitely a big deal. We need to stick together at a time like this,” said Doedy, a rep with the store. "We just want to be around and just serve. Whatever we can do."
Just a few doors down from Trusted Kicks sits another minority-owned business. Tropic, a Jamaican-themed lounge, is preparing to open. Owner Hyacinth Nembhardt said it's re-assuring to know the state's support is there for businesses like hers.
“I just think the more we add to that footprint of minority-owned, women-owned businesses, we just become stronger. Not only as businesses, but as a community,” she said.
The two grants will become available in the coming weeks.
A previously-announced grant, the $50 Equitable Recovery Act, is now accepting applications through Nov. 5.