On May 6, Williamson County officially launched its Wilco Forward program, which aims to provide grants for local business owners that have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than $18.5 million has been given out to small businesses as of May 21. Wilco Forward was developed by a strike team that includes County Treasurer Scott Heselmeyer, Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey, and Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles. The program began accepting applications on May 6 and has mailed more than 1,600 checks as of May 28.
Wilco Forward is funded through the approximately $93 million the County received from the CARES Act. The Commissioners Court allocated $25 million for the program. As of May 21, the County has funded 1,287 applications.
“As the Williamson County economy begins to rebuild, more than 1,200 businesses have received assistance to help re-tool and restart. In a time of crisis, our leaders stepped up to place a priority on the survival of our small businesses. Williamson County is setting the standard for protecting jobs and economic opportunity in these difficult times,” said Williamson County Treasurer Scott Heselmeyer.
“The response to the Wilco Forward program highlights the need in the small business community. So far, there have been more than 2,600 applications for the program. Every one of these applications is important, and the staff in the County Auditor’s office is doing an amazing job of processing these applications fairly and efficiently. This is a large project, and it will take a little time, but every applicant will hear from us,” added Heselmeyer.
Applications will be submitted online through the county’s website at www.wilco.org/forward to the Williamson County Auditor’s Office. The application link has been active since 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The money will be issued as applications are processed until the $25 million in budgeted funds are exhausted. The deadline to apply is June 30, 2020. After reviewing the information, anyone with questions can email those to [email protected]
“The Commissioners Court felt very strongly about getting assistance to our small businesses as quickly as possible to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus restrictions,” said Commissioner Valerie Covey. “We will be processing applications as soon as they come in so that business owners can quickly receive Wilco Forward grant funds.”
The amount issued per grant will depend on whether the business was fully or partially closed due to the pandemic, starting March 2020. Both for-profit and non-profit businesses headquartered and located in Williamson County are eligible to apply. Additional criteria and restrictions are available at www.wilco.org/forward.
“Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Now is the time for us to support them in any way we can,” said Commissioner Russ Boles.