COVID-19 BUSINESS RESOURCES

COVID-19 BUSINESS INSIGHTS AND RELIEF INFORMATION

The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges to all types of Wisconsin businesses whose operations are impacted by disruptions to their supply chains, withering demand for their products and worker unavailability resulting from sustained social distancing.

This page is designed to provide the latest, best information to our clients and the citizens of Wisconsin on resources aimed at maintaining the vitality of the companies upon which our economy depends. As the volume of inquiries through our phone lines and website prevents us from responding individually to people as we would like, we invite you to visit this page regularly. We plan to update this directory as new information and resources become available.

Included on this page are resources available to Wisconsin businesses from WEDC and other local, state and federal agencies.

Small business owners are encouraged to work with their lenders to address the financial challenges they are facing as a result of COVID-19.

Focus Forward

Focus Forward provides tools, information and inspiration related to business, community and personal resilience. It’s a place to communicate and connect regularly, where you’ll find information on financial and operational assistance programs from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and other state and federal partners that will prepare you for economic recovery.

Reopen Guidelines

With input from national and state health and industry experts and in partnership with state agency and regional economic development organizations, WEDC has compiled a series of guidelines to help you get back to business while adopting best practices to mitigate health risks.

Strategies for Small Businesses to Navigate COVID-19 Challenges

Downtown District and Business Coronavirus Response: Ideas and Resources. Also in español and Hmong.

Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant

The Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant initiative will award grants of $2,000 per company to ethnic minority-owned businesses with five or fewer full-time equivalent employees (including the owner) in the retail, service or hospitality sectors that have not received assistance through the Small Business 20/20 Program or the federal CARES Act and/or Paycheck Protection Program.

This one-time, temporary initiative will accept applications from May 18-26, 2020. Companies that meet the program criteria can apply through one of Wisconsin’s Collective Ethnic and Diverse Organizations during the application window. If the applications received exceed the funds available, companies will be selected at random from the pool of pre-qualified applicants that meet all program criteria. Learn more about the grant here.

Coronavirus Information for Partners

Answers to frequently asked questions by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

COVID-19: How we can help businesses

The Small Business Development Center-Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship has created a page with important information for its clients amid quickly changing conditions and unprecedented measures put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance

The Wisconsin SBDC, a resource partner of the SBA, has created a web page to help business owners understand the qualifications and application process for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Consultants across the network’s 13 locations are working remotely via phone, email and virtual tools to assist clients.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue is providing immediate help for small businesses on sales taxes and taking other steps to help taxpayers in response to COVID-19.

U.S. Small Business Administration

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses. In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the CARES Act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak. With additional funding available, applications for Paycheck Protection Program funding will resume on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. CDT. View a list of lenders participating in the Paycheck Protection Program by state as of April 23, 2020.

The Wisconsin Small Business Development (SBDC) Network and its partners are helping small businesses apply for federal disaster loans to mitigate the substantial economic injury as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Wisconsin SBDC, a resource partner of the SBA, has created a web page to help business owners understand the qualifications and application process. Consultants across the network’s 13 locations are working remotely via phone, email and virtual tools to assist clients. The Wisconsin SBA and its other SBA resource partners— including WWBIC, Western Wisconsin Women’s Business Center, SCORE, and Veterans Business Outreach Center—are also working to assist their clients.

SBA offices will also offer daily webinars to answer questions—register here:

For assistance, contact the SBA’s helpline at 800-659-2955 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET seven days a week or by email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Website: www.sba.gov/disaster.

Coronavirus Tax Relief

The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Resources

The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus (also known as novel coronavirus).

Coronavirus: Resources, Updates, and What You Should Know

The U.S. Treasury Department is supporting American workers and businesses who are impacted by the coronavirus.

Export Import Bank of the United States (EXIM)

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has announced a series of initiatives to inject liquidity into the market and give maximum financing flexibility to facilitate sales of U.S. goods and services abroad.

Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve established the Main Street Lending Program to enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development

USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses, and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Brew City Match

Brew City Match has developed two tools to ease the financial burden for small business owners:

  • The Brew City Match COVID-19 Small Business Grant that provides up to $1,200 to assist small businesses with rent and payroll support.
  • The Brew City Match COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Loan Fund that provides zero interest loans to small businesses to assist with rent, payroll, and additional business expenses.

Coronavirus Resources for Municipalities

The Wisconsin League of Municipalities’ COVID-19 page contains information that will help you navigate the pandemic.

Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Emergency Loan Fund

The Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (HWCC) has announced a new Emergency Loan Fund (COVID-19) in response to the negative impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the Wisconsin business community. These funds are primarily used for working capital to cover rent, payroll, and other fixed expenses. This loan fund is similar to HWCC’s existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Small Loan programs but with a slightly lower rate and an interest-only option for the first 3 months. Loans from $5,000 and up to $10,000. For more information about terms and interest rates, please contact HWCC Operations Manager, Ger Thao: ger@hmongchamber.org.

Wisconsin Emergency Response Program

gener8tor is hosting emergency one-week virtual programs for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These programs will feature daily webinars designed to identify, understand and help small businesses secure resources to withstand the current crisis. One-on-one office hours will also be available.

Kiva Loans

Kiva has expanded small business lending on its online platform to include a larger list of eligible businesses, the possibility for larger loans, and a grace period for repayment.  Learn more here (or visit the dedicated pages for applicants in Milwaukee or applicants in Madison).

Small business owners affiliated with the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, and the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce can contact these chambers directly for assistance.

LISC Small Business Relief Grants

Thanks to support from funders like Verizon and Sam’s Club, LISC is providing grants to small businesses to help them keep functioning and remain vital facets of their local economies through this challenging period.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance

The following organizations stand ready to help their clients apply for this federal aid:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Save Small Business Fund

The Save Small Business Fund is a grantmaking initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories.

Wisconsin Humanities Council

The Wisconsin Humanities Council is providing rapid-response funding to nonprofit humanities and cultural organizations that are facing financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 coronavirus.

WWBIC Classes

WWBIC has moved all its business and financial educational programming on-line and on-demand.

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FOCUS FORWARD UPDATES

Stay in-the-know about important Wisconsin business and economic news, community announcements and new programs and resources available for your business.

New video: Reopening with safety in mind

In collaboration with other state agencies, WEDC has created a set of guidelines for how businesses can do their part to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the health of employees and customers when they reopen. Learn more in a new video from WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes. Read More

Focus Forward Podcast Ep. 1: Moving your restaurant forward with Luke Zahm

Luke Zahm discusses how he’s moving his restaurant forward in the wake of the pandemic in Wisconsin. Join Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC as she talks to the chef and owner of Driftless Cafe and Wiscochef Enterprises and host of the “Wisconsin Foodie” television show about his restaurant business before and after COVID-19. Read More

Recording posted: May 18 livestream with Secretary Missy Hughes

View the recording of the May 18, 2020, livestream with WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. This livestream touched on guidelines for businesses to protect employees and customers; a resource to connect companies in need of personal protective equipment with those that make it; the Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant initiative; and the newly announced We’re All In initiative with additional relief funds for small businesses. Read More

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