Applicants for WEDC’s We’re All Innovating Contest will be notified by email of the status of their application once the judging is complete. Applicants eligible for funding will need to submit additional information to receive their award.
Who is eligible to apply?
Wisconsin for-profit businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.
Who are the judges and mentors?
The volunteer judges offer years of valuable experience. Judges drawn from the across Wisconsin’s business, economic development, research and development, technology, education, finance, legal, manufacturing, and other sectors will score entries.
Are there matching requirements for the grants?
Applicants will be asked to describe what other resources can be or have been brought to bear to make the project work. Judges will weigh both in-kind and financial resources contributed to the innovation to date, any committed resources, and the overall viability of the financial plan going forward.
How is the process being managed?
Due to the time-sensitive nature of the crisis and available funding, this proposal will utilize existing WEDC assets and partnerships to intake and process applications. One such partner, the Wisconsin Technology Council, has a history of using an electronic platform and business-savvy judges to manage the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, Wisconsin YES! and other statewide contests. The WAIC process will utilize that independent expertise at various points, with WEDC making all final prize determinations.
What does the We’re All In safe business practices pledge mean?
Grant recipients will become We’re All In businesses by pledging to observe health safety best practices in their facilities to protect employees, customers and the communities in which they operate. Industry-specific safety guidelines can be found at wedc.org/reopen-guidelines. WEDC is encouraging all businesses, large and small, to adopt behaviors that maximize safety and balance health and livelihoods. We’re all in this together to be healthy and safe.
How do I get started?
To enter the contest, you will need to create a “We’re All In” account through our “Apply Here” button at wisconsininnovates.com. User accounts and contest entries are managed through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its trusted, third-party SaaS provider.
Once I create my account, may I sign back in later to continue work on my entry?
At any point during the application process, you can select “Save & Logout” to save your work. You can log back into your account (by clicking the “MY ACCOUNT” button in the top navigation bar or on select pages at wisconsininnovates.com and edit your entry up until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 18. After the deadline, all entries will be considered final and you will receive a confirmation email that your entry has been received.
How do I know which contest category is the best fit for my idea?
The three contest innovation categories are deliberately broad – health impacts, business impacts and operational impacts. An entry should be able to find a logical home. Contest administrators and judges will move entries between categories if necessary.
Is there a way to enter without using the website?
No. All entries are accepted through the “APPLY HERE” button at the top of every web page. The application and judging can only be completed online because much of the background checking is automated.
How do I determine the number of full-time equivalents at my company?
One full-time equivalent (FTE) is one or more employees working a total of 40 hours per week. For example, if you have two employees each working 20 hours per week, then you have one FTE.
Will I receive notification that my application is received?
Yes, you will receive an email. The email will come to you from email@example.com. Be sure to check your Junk Mail folder in case your system flags this as spam.
What past or anticipated costs may be considered as part of the contest financial plan?
Please include costs related to the innovation such as management, planning, design, training, personnel costs beyond normal operations, consulting, facility modifications, health and safety monitoring systems, regulatory compliance or other related operating costs. These should be costs that either have been incurred since March 1, 2020 or are anticipated to be incurred before December 30, 2020 per Federal CARES Act guidelines.
In addition to the application, what supporting documentation will businesses be required to submit prior to an award?
You will be notified if you are required to submit a W-9: Signed and dated W-9 form available at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf.
You may be asked to provide additional information to verify business information and process your application. Owners with 50% or more ownership may be asked for identify information to complete background checks. Failure to respond and provide this information may result in ineligibility or award termination. The applicant will respond quickly and thoroughly for requests for information while the application is being reviewed and understands and agrees that failure to do so may result in the applicant being ineligible for funds.
Do I have to put my bank account number on my W-9 form?
No, please do not put your bank account information on the W-9 form. The W-9 form states that field is optional.
What other information should I have ready for the application?
You will also need to provide the three-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that best matches your business. This information may be included in your tax return. Alternatively, you can find it by typing the business description into the search box here.
Note that the online application for the application will have a drop-down list from which to select your industry by three-digit NAICS and description. For example, if your company provides Janitorial Services (561720), you would choose number 561 for Office Administrative Services. Download a list of NAICS codes that you will be able to choose from in the grant application.
What are eligible grant uses?
Grant funds can be used for any operating costs, including but not limited to wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory; and/or for health and safety improvements.
Will I be taxed on the grant amount?
Yes. The grant is considered income for tax purposes.
How will grants be awarded?
After the application period has closed, applications will be reviewed by volunteer judges, and those with the highest scores in each category and passing an eligibility screen will receive awards.
What are my obligations if I receive this award?
Upon approval, you will be provided a contract to e-sign (by email from DocuSign) that attests to the truth and accuracy of your application information.
You also must complete a follow-up report indicating how the grant was used three and 12 months after the award. You will be contacted by WEDC to receive forms and guidance.
Additionally, you may later be selected randomly for a review of your grant expenditures, so it is important to save receipts or evidence that show how the grant was spent. State law requires you to maintain these records for three years.
How will I be notified if I am selected to receive an award?
Applicants will receive an email from WEDC [firstname.lastname@example.org] notifying them that they have been awarded the grant and detailing the next steps. The key next step is that you will receive a contract from Docusign for your signature and to enter your banking information so grant funds can be distributed to you.
When will the grant funds be awarded?
Awards are scheduled to be made by Dec. 15, 2020.
What is the process for getting my payment?
Once you have been approved for the grant award, you will receive an electronic contract from Docusign. When you receive the electronic contract for your signature, you will be asked to provide your banking information so that we may pay you electronically via ACH, which is simply a bank-to-bank transfer into your bank account.
What is ACH and how can I find that information?
ACH stands for “automated clearing house,” and it is the electronic network for financial institutions in the United States for financial transactions. Simply put, it is a money transfer to your bank (and into your bank account) from another bank.
You will need to provide WEDC with your routing number and your bank account number in a secure portal during the contracting phase. Your bank’s nine-digit routing number can be found on the bottom of your checks, or you can contact your bank for this information.