Prompted by an overwhelming response last week from small businesses, Dane County is increasing support for a grant program to help them out during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, April 6, county executive Joe Parisi announced the county will increase funding for its Small Business Pandemic Support Grant Program to $800,000 after receiving hundreds of applications since announcing it April 1.

The program started out at $250,000, but according to an April 6 news release, by Thursday evening, Dane Buy Local had received 800 applications.

Parisi said by more than tripling the funding total, Dane County and Dane Buy Local hope to help more local businesses survive the COIVD-19 public health crisis that has caused many to close.

“We want local businesses to know we stand with them and support them,” he said in the news release. “We encourage small business owners throughout Dane County to apply for this funding to help retain employees and cover expenses.”

On Wednesday, April 1, Parisi announced Dane County has selected Dane Buy Local to administer the new grant program. The funding is designed to assist businesses retain employees and reduce losses incurred by the pandemic.

Dane Buy Local administers the grants and has information about the county program at danebuylocal.com. Grants as small as $1,000 will be awarded, and applications will be accepted through June 15, 2020, according to the news release.

“The reality that the need is so much greater justifies an increase in funding at this point in time,” said Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher in the news release. “Businesses across Dane County need our help. That we can take this action quickly together is yet another example of Dane County leaders coming together in these trying times.”

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.