The Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship has created this page to anchor important information for our clients amid quickly changing conditions and unprecedented measures put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting small business owners is what we do, and that is more critical than ever at this time. Below you can find information and resources that could be useful.
If you are a client, reach out to the consultant or staffer you already work with.
If you’re new to us, you can contact us or call the Business Answerline, 800-940-7232.
Or you can reach out to our program units:
- Small Business Development Center Network (COVID-19 help page, SBA disaster loan assistance, contact us or find your center)
- Center for Technology Commercialization
- Food Finance Institute (online huddles every Monday for consultants and entrepreneurs, free online cashflow course)
- Center for Business Intelligence
- Business Dynamics Research Consortium
Note: Staff at the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship recently updated email addresses to @business.wisconsin.edu, but if you see or have used a @uwex.edu email address to reach us, those emails will be forwarded to our new accounts through June.
Events, classes and programs
Many in-person events and classes have been canceled or postponed across the University of Wisconsin System, which is posting updates on a regular basis. Our program units follow the guidance of their host campus or institution.
Our Events will be updated as soon as possible, and our staff are working hard to share updates with clients as quickly as they can.
If you have a question about an upcoming class that you have registered for or are interested in, contact the organizer for more information.
NOTE: The Ideadvance Seed Fund program is still on target for its April 17 application deadline. Neither the grant process nor the program is expected to change, as it is managed online.
Many business-related organizations have anchored information and updates on their websites. Below are some links that may be helpful; this list is by no means comprehensive:
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and their process for disaster relief lending announced March 12 (Wisconsin disaster declaration granted March 20)
- Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation resources page, the WEDC Small Business 20/20 grants and WEDC Rising to Challenges guide
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law March 27 — U.S. Chamber of Commerce summary, WMC summary, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship summary, Wisconsin Bankers Association 5 things you can do right now
- Wisconsin State Government COVID-19 Response Update (March 25, 2020) – Recorded Webinar
- America’s SBDC (ASBDC) Small Business Resources and Tips for Businesses
- Business Interruption Insurance
- Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and Wisconsin Safety Council
- U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Guidance
- Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
- WBD Small Business Resources
- WWBIC Client Loan Modification Options
- FREE Spanish webinars on topics of interest to those affected by COVID-19 (provided by Puerto Rico SBTDC)
- Wisconsin LGBT Chamber
- Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce emergency fund
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program
- Google’s tips for small businesses
Ways to support small businesses
Many consumers are looking for ways to support small businesses when they have been forced to close, offer limited hours/delivery or make other adjustments to prevent the spread of the virus.
It’s hard to know for sure what you can do when conditions change by the hour, but the following suggestions can be helpful:
- Buy gift cards now and use them later. (See Gannett’s portal for Wisconsin cities to buy. Check Madison.com’s directory to connect.)
- Shop local merchants online if possible.
- Use delivery or pick-up for those businesses who are offering it.
- Tip generously if you can.
- Show your support by liking, commenting and sharing local business’ social media messages.
- Be kind and thankful to your local businesses. Small gestures mean a lot.