There is no question we are in unprecedented times – which has and will require unprecedented action. Of course, the first priority is protecting public health, but addressing the inevitable economic fallout from COVID-19 is also extremely important.

WEDA continues to work on your behalf and is engaging with policymakers, government officials and the private sector to address the economic challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. We also remain committed to providing the latest information and resources to our members regarding the COVID-19 crisis:

Financing Options:

We’re All In Small Business Grant

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will issue 30,000 grants of $2,500 to Wisconsin small businesses to help them get back on their feet amid disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, WEDC’s We’re All In Small Business Grant aims to assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory.

Please help spread the word to businesses in your community who could benefit from the We’re All In small business grant program. Please note the grant application period opens at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, June 15 and closes on Tuesday, June 23 at 11:59 p.m.

To be eligible for the We’re All In Grant, businesses must:

  • Be a Wisconsin-based, for-profit business that was in operation in February 2020.
  • Have 20 or fewer employees.
  • Have less than $1 million in annual revenues.
  • Not be part of a national chain unless they are a third-party franchise.

We’re All In Small Business Grant Resources:

  • Grant Checklist to help businesses get ready to apply for the program.
  • Grant program FAQs
  • Grant applicants are required to submit a letter or email of acknowledgement from a community organization indicating their business was in operation in February 2020. Please find a sample letter template here.

Work with Your Existing Financial Institution – Around Local or SBA Payment Accommodations:

As always, talk with your local bank representative that currently works with your business.  Here are 5 things that your business can do right now! See how your financial institution can work with you in addressing your needs!   Banks have greater flexibility due to the guidance that regulatory agencies have provided during this COVID-19 pandemic. 

Paycheck Protection Program – Apply Quickly and Be Patient!

Loan is only through your SBA Lender! Beware of Scams!

Due to this being a national program with many businesses seeking this type of funding allocation for their employees, this $349 Billion dollar program will be used quickly.  Please consider calling your SBA Approved Financial Institution today, if you want to pursue this loan.

Terms:  Interest rate of 1.0%, Maturity of 2 years, First payment deferred for six months, 100% guarantee by SBA, No collateral, No personal guarantees and No borrower or lender fees payable to SBA.

Frequently Asked Questions can be found by clicking on the program names: Paycheck Protection Program , Paycheck Protection Program. In addition, a video can be accessed that walks viewers through the Paycheck Protection Program application.

PPP Guidance/Program Overview (US Treasury)

Contact Your Existing Lender for Application Lenders by Zip Code

U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program website & loan application

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Wisconsin for low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. 

  • Uses: Pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills tied to COVID-19 impact.
  • Interest Rates:  3.75% for small businesses and 2.75 % for nonprofits.
  • Repayment: Deferred for up to twelve months. Interest accrues during the deferred period. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • Maximum Loan Amount:  The qualifying small business can apply for a loan of up to $2 million. 
  • Loans are directly from the SBA not your traditional lender.
  • Loans can be based solely on credit scores.
  • Loans are available to non-profit entities organized as a 501(c)(6).
  • Loans of less than $200,000 can be approved without a personal guarantee.
  • Borrowers can receive a $10,000 cash advance, if the money is spent on paid leave, maintaining payroll, increased costs due to supply chain disruption, mortgage or lease payments, or repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses.

Frequently Asked Questions can be found by clicking on the program names: Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan $10 K Advance. In addition, a video can be accessed that walks viewers through the EIDL application.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Application

Click here for an online EIDL application explanation from Southwest Wisconsin SBDC’s Kristi Smith, which effectively walks you through the NEW SBA EIDL application process.

For Businesses that Applied for the EIDL Prior to 3/30/2020

  • EIDL Applications submitted before Monday 3/30/2020 need to be resubmitted to be considered for the $10,000 Advance (the Advance portion is forgivable).
  • If you applied for the EIDL and did NOT receive an immediate confirmation number or email confirmation, then you must resubmit the application. If you received a confirmation number and do not want to be eligible for the $10,000 Advance, you do not need to do anything.

Comparing the SBA Programs: PPP & EIDL

Multiple Applications: SBA Guidance is still pending. 

Question: Can a business apply for EIDL and PPP?  At this time, it is not believed that applying for other loans would make a business ineligible for EIDL, but the use of funds may not be for the same purpose – meaning if payroll for this 8 weeks is the use of funds for PPP, it may not also be the use of funds for an EIDL. Or if the EIDL would be paying in full or part a bridge loan or line of credit that was used to fund the working capital needs during the disaster time. 

SBA Debt Relief – Existing SBA 7(a), 504 and Micro Loans (CARES Act)

Important – Contact your loan officer to ensure this SBA provision is being implemented on your loans over the next 30 days.

The SBA Debt Relief program will provide a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.  Under this program:

  • The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.
  • The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.

Other Loan Tools that may be of interest:

SBA Express Loan:  Express loan program provides loans for no more than 7 years with an option to revolve. There is a turnaround time of 36 hours for approval or denial of a completed application. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.

  • Maximum loan amount has increased to $1 million (CARES ACT).
  • Provides borrowers lines of credit for working capital

List of Wisconsin SBA Express Lenders (last column):

Existing Express Loan? Consider through SBA Express Lender:  Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

List of Wisconsin SBA Express Lenders (last column):

Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant (WEDC)

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.

Small Business 20/20 (WEDC):

Small Business 20/20 Program provides grant funds to approved community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Approved CDFIs will award grants of up to $20,000 to their existing loan clients to assist with cash-flow challenges resulting from COVID-19.   Businesses that are not currently CDFI clients are not eligible to access these funds, but WEDC will work to expand access to funding through other programs as more resources become available. If you have more questions, view this page on the program.   A CDFI list can be found here.

Other Options:

  • Local Loan Programs: Local economic development organizations and communities may have developed specific programs. Please contact your local organization if your business is seeking funds to deal with short or long-term challenges of the COVID-19. These organizatons are aware of other programs that may be available to your business.  Here is a directory of our economic development members.  Search for your local contact by city or county
  • Submission of Local COVID-19 Programs: If your organization or community has developed a program, please submit to us by email a term sheet to
  • CRA Network of Wisconsin – If you are seeking financing via a loan product and the above resources are not meeting your expectations, please reach out to the CRA Network of Wisconsin.  The CRA Network of Wisconsin is here to get your loan proposal in front of numerous banks via one presentation.  Connect with us by email.

COVID-19 Webinars

Listen to WEDA COVID-19 webinars here.

Technical Assistance:

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center Network has created this page to anchor important resources and information amid quickly changing conditions and unprecedented measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff across all of our centers are available to work with you via phone or virtual means. We are thinking of you and the challenges you face. And we are here to help as best we can.

COVID-19 Directives, Policies and Legislation:

  • Gov. Tony Evers has announced $75 million in assistance for small businesses. Funded largely by federal dollars received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this grant program, which will be administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, will provide direct assistance to small businesses most impacted by the duration and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic – and have not already received WEDC COVID-19 assistance . These $2,500 cash grants will assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory. Businesses will be able to apply for grant assistance in early June. 05.18.20
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application. The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities. CLICK HERE to view the application and instructions. 05.15.20
  • Governor Evers has issues Emergency Order #36, which allows all standalone or strip-mall based retail stores to offer in-person shopping for up to five customers at a time while maintaining required social distancing practices. Additionally, the Emergency Order signed today allows drive-in theaters to operate with some restrictions.  05/11/20
  • WEDC recently issued guidelines for reopening businesses across the state. The guidelines were created with input from national and state health and industry experts and in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and regional economic development partners. The industry-specific documents aim to help businesses reopen while taking the necessary precautions to maximize safety. 05/08/20
  • Governor Evers announced the issuance of Emergency Order 34, which reduces restrictions on certain businesses during the Safer at Home order that runs through April 26. The new order allows non-essential businesses to offer curb-side drop-off for consumers, allow the rental of outdoor recreation vehicles (e.g., boats; canoes; ATVs; etc.) and the operation automatic and self-service car washes. Click here to read the entire order. 04.27.20
  • Earlier today, President Trump signed a $484 billion interim COVID-19 relief bill, which replenishes funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Under the bill, an additional $320 billion is provided for the PPP – including $60 billion which is earmarked specifically for community lenders and mid-sized banks – and $60 billion for the EIDL program, including $10 billion for grants. 04.24.20
  • Wisconsin Legislative Republicans have filed suit against Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-Designee Palm challenging her order to extend the Safer at Home policy through May 26, 2020. The lawsuit claims Palm exceeded her authority in issuing the the order and asks the Wisconsin Supreme Court to prohibit its enforcement.  04/21/20
  • The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced today that it is now accepting applications for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, PUA may be available to individuals who became unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information. 04/21/20
  • Badger Bounce Back Planned Unveiled – Less that a week after Governor Tony Evers extended his Safer at Home order to address the COVID-19 pandemic, today (04/20/20) he unveiled his Badger Bounce Back Plan, which outlines his strategy to phase-in normal daily life for Wisconsin citizens. The plan allows the state to move from the Safer at Home order into the following three phases, but only after certain benchmarks are met, including a two-week decline in coronavirus cases:
    • Phase One will include allowing mass gatherings of up to 10 people; restaurants opening with social distancing requirements; removal of certain restrictions including retail restrictions for Essential Businesses and Operations; additional operations for non-essential businesses; K-12 schools to resume in-person operation; and child care settings resuming full operation.
    • Phase Two will include allowing mass gatherings of up to 50 people; restaurants resuming full operation; bars reopening with social distancing requirements; non-essential businesses resuming operations with social distancing requirements; and post-secondary education institutions may resume operation.
    • Phase Three will resume all business activity and gatherings, with minimal protective and preventative measures in place for the general public and more protective measures for vulnerable populations.
  • Safer at Home Order extended – Gov. Tony Evers yesterday directed Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to extend the current Safer at Home order from April 24, 2020 to May 26, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. The extended order implements several changes, including new business activity and safety directives, travel guidelines and the closure of K-12 schools for the remainder of the current school year. Click here to read the Governor’s press release. The entire order can be found here. 04/16/20
  • Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday signed a comprehensive coronavirus relief bill that was overwhelming approved by the Legislature earlier in the week. The new law (2019 WI Act 185), which suspends the state’s one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits, also captures hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid. Read more here. 04/15/20
  • Gov. Tony Evers has issued Emergency Order 22 to provide the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), which regulates occupational licensing and oversees commercial building planning and inspection, with greater flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Order includes the suspension of numerous DSPS rules that impact a wide range of services provided by the Department. It makes the following changes that may be of interest to the economic development community:
    • Exempts critical structures from the plan and review process during the public health emergency; and
    • Suspends certain time frames for the inspection and issuing of permits for non-critical buildings in an effort to prioritize critical buildings.
  • The U.S. Congress has passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic recovery bill, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill, which President Trump has signed into law, includes $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in corporate aid. The legislation also includes the Paycheck Protection Loan Program, which provides $350 billion for forgivable small business loans during the COVID-19 crisis. CLICK HERE for a comprehensive overview of the bill by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • Gov. Tony Evers issued Emergency Order 15 directing the suspension of evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • On Tuesday, March 24, Governor Tony Evers issued a “Safer at Home” order for Wisconsin. If you are unsure about whether a particular businesses is considered essential under the order, please  CLICK HERE to contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). 
  • The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18 and goes into effect on April 2, 2020. The law focuses on paid sick leave and expanded FMLA provisions, including:
    • Emergency paid sick leave: Full-time employees of employers with less than 500 employees that are unable to work due to COVID-19 are eligible for 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave. Part-time employees are eligible to receive the equivalent of the number of hours they would work, on average, during a two-week period.
    • Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): The law expands the FMLA definition of employer to all employers with fewer than 500 employees, and expands the definition of a covered employee to include all employees who have worked for covered employers for at least 30 days.

Other COVID-19 Resources:

Public Health:

Economic and Business Resources: