The City of Madison recognizes the need to invest in our small business community. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses face a real prospect of permanently closing. We further recognize historic and current inequities when it comes to funding and supporting small businesses owned by people of color. That is why, myself with the support of the Common Council launched the Small Business Equity and Recovery (SBER) grants aimed at supporting businesses owned by people who are part of a historically underrepresented group, including: low income populations, people of color, immigrants, women, veterans and LGBTQ+ individuals.
The response was enormous. In fact, it was so large we had to deploy city workers from 5 different agencies to help support the two person Office of Business Resources review team. And while the large amount of applications caused some delay in response we are happy to report the team has reviewed close to 500 applications and have approved over $1,162,700.00 in grants to Madison Businesses.
Our small business community is the soul of Madison’s neighborhoods. They contribute to the rich, vibrant texture and culture of our city. We recognize the losses many have experienced in the last year and are happy the City and community at large able to support as many businesses as we can. Below are some positive feedback grant recipients have shared with staff:
“What a relief to see your email this morning! Thank you for the good news.”
“Thank you very much! We really appreciate your help.”
“This is great news!! Thank you so much”
“Thank you so very much for this! I am so grateful! Thanks for making my whole week!”
“I am so very appreciative for the grant. “
“This is not the best but THE "BESTEST" email that we have received during these hard times!”
“THANK YOU VERY MUCH! You are our LIFE SAVIOR! Again, thank you very much for being a life savior for many small entrepreneurs like us.”
“Wow that is great news! Thank you so much!!!! I cannot tell you how much this helps!”
The SBER Grant Program is now closed and in the next 6 weeks the rest of the applications will be reviewed and money distributed. However, our work in supporting and advocating for our small business community will not end here. We have other programs that will be rolling out throughout the year.
If you have not done so already please join the Office of Business Resources (OBR) e-mail list to receive updates of other programs that become available:
https://www.cityofmadison.com/dpced/economicdevelopment/ (Subscribe to newsletter at the bottom right)
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