To help Wisconsin businesses and communities facing economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, WEDC has launched a digital platform—Focus Forward—to serve as an online “one-stop shop” for state, federal and other funding and operational assistance programs. Focus Forward provides up-to-date information through multimedia formats to help business owners in Wisconsin navigate the complexities of pandemic recovery resources.

“The information coming at people, particularly business owners struggling to survive this unprecedented health emergency, is overwhelming and at times confusing,” says WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “Our Focus Forward platform is designed to serve as a trusted source of information, delivered in a format that is both relevant and accessible for people seeking guidance on what help is available.”

Focus Forward connects businesses and communities to the programs and resources WEDC and other state partners and national organizations have created to help businesses and communities. The platform makes it easier to find the information needed for relief and recovery, including state and federal relief programs and more.

As organizations throughout Wisconsin plan and host events to help businesses recover, WEDC has created an events calendar that collects these events in one central place. The COVID-19 Business Recovery Events Calendar lists events taking place across the state (primarily virtually, at least for now). Site users can also submit events for listing on the calendar by entering the event date, time, location, cost (if any) and organizer details.

Through Focus Forward, WEDC provided guidelines for businesses of different types to reopen safely and protect the health of their employees and customers, addressing such topics as social distancing, personal protective equipment, ventilation, cleaning and sanitization. A checklist has been added to the end of each guidelines document, so business owners can be sure all the relevant areas have been addressed as they reopen.

In addition to regular updates on state financial assistance programs and federal recovery strategies, Focus Forward features livestream events and videos that break down complex topics to help understand and overcome the challenges of the pandemic.

The WEDC Focus Forward podcast connects business and community leaders and other Wisconsin “doers” in conversations featuring actionable advice, unique perspectives and answers to questions about the evolving guidance related to COVID-19. In Episode 1, Luke Zahm discusses how he’s moving his restaurant—the Driftless Café in Viroqua—forward in the wake of the pandemic in Wisconsin.

As Wisconsin residents seek to maximize business, community and personal success in the state, Focus Forward provides the timely pandemic recovery tips, information and insights needed to move beyond the current crisis into recovery and resilience.

Visit the Focus Forward site and subscribe to receive updates.