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Resource guide for Milwaukee-area small businesses impacted by COVID-19

Most Milwaukee-area small businesses have been stomach-punched by the coronavirus pandemic, and the response from groups and officials around the state continues to evolve. Social distancing measures have resulted in closures for small businesses, both temporary and, unfortunately, some permanent. As a result, unemployment claims have skyrocketed in Wisconsin in recent weeks. But businesses, nonprofits and other organizations are working to unite those in need and those who can help. This includes loans and grants, counseling and networking, and helping customers support their community businesses during the crisis. Milwaukee Business Journal: Small Business Resource Guide The Milwaukee Business Journal, along with parent company American City Business Journals, is compiling a Small Business Resource Guide to assist during these challenging times. We anticipate this guide will provide information to lead small business owners to various programs, public and private, that can provide some light in this time of need. Check back often, as this guide will be regularly updated. If you know of an effort not yet posted to this list, email it to MILWAUKEE-AREA resources for small businesses Milwaukee County has added a COVID-19 page to its website that offers some of the most up-to-date information on confirmed cases in the county, as well as where the infections are concentrated. See the county's data dashboard here. A stay-at-home order by the city of Milwaukee took effect at 12:01 a.m. March 25 as part of efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease. The city of Milwaukee says its order aims to ensure the maximum number of people isolate at their residence, while enabling essential services to continue. The city’s order does not identify an anticipated end date. Learn more here. RECOMMENDED MEDIA & MARKETING Bally Sports Wisconsin preps for debut, gambling not in picture HEALTH CARE Vaccination sites increasing in Wisconsin, but shortage remains in short term: Gov. Evers: Slideshow MANUFACTURING Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year honors seven Milwaukee-area firms for efforts during pandemic

Gov. Tony Evers on March 26 launched an initiative designed to get more personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gowns, gloves and masks, to those working on the frontlines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wisconsinites can now go to this website to either donate or sell large quantities of PPE to the state of Wisconsin. The State Emergency Operations Center will then work to distribute the PPE to communities that need it the most. The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has compiled guidelines and resources for businesses on its Coronavirus Guidance & Resources page. See more on the MMAC website here. Beginning March 30, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) is launching a live video briefing to provide the latest information and perspectives on health and economic considerations for the Milwaukee area as the region faces continued response to the coronavirus pandemic. Hosted by MCW President and CEO Dr. John R. Raymond Sr. and MMAC President Tim Sheehy, the briefings will feature a guest expert each weekday beginning at 3:30 p.m. and concluding before 4 p.m. The briefing is open to the public and free to view, but registration is required. Register online here. The Milwaukee Department of City Development Commercial Corridor Team (DCD CCT) has established a list of resources to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. The DCD team will update this list regularly. See details here. U.S. Small Business Administration - Wisconsin District Office in Milwaukee: Coronavirus small business loan information.

The Waukesha County Business Alliance is offering coronavirus-related resources on its website, including government updates, financial assistance, recorded webinars, employer resources, etc. Read more here. The Waukesha County Business Alliance and the Waukesha Center for Growth have been working closely with partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Administration and Wisconsin Small Business Development Center to stay abreast of financial assistance programs being established to assist businesses. See updates on COVID-19 Business Resources here. Also, learn more about financial assistance programs here. Visit Milwaukee published a coronavirus page that offers links to a list of events that have been canceled or postponed as well as other resources, including the Milwaukee County's real-time COVID-19 dashboard. Click here for more. Understanding the laws that apply to COVID-19–related decisions will not guarantee a business survives the economic impact, but it can reduce the scars that are inflicted on the business after the outbreak is over. Here are some important considerations when addressing employment-related decisions. The Better Business Bureau is offering suggestions on how to better support small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. As the BBB states, "Even business-to-business fields, such as the graphic designer who designs your office’s brochures or the accounting firm who does the books, are feeling the impact." For more information, visit the BBB website here. The BBB also has information with resources to help work through the COVID-19 crisis. See more here.

In times of crisis, sometimes the best advice comes from fellow business executives. With that in mind, the Milwaukee Business Journal asked a group of Milwaukee-area business executives their best advice for others in dealing with this unprecedented situation. Read more here for what they had to say. Harrigan Solutions expands sanitation services to serve all manufacturers during pandemic: Grafton-based Harrigan Solutions is offering a new sanitization service to minimize COVID-19 contamination in manufacturing plants. The service is similar to the company's existing food plant sanitation services, although this service is adapted to a variety of facilities and spaces, including the manufacturing floor, office, educational spaces and athletic facilities. Harrigan Solutions said this new service will assist manufacturers in maintaining production schedules while also continuing heightened sanitation practices during the outbreak. Interested manufacturers can call (888) 685-9603 or visit The Volunteer Center of Washington County has built a COVID-19 community response web page to share local volunteer and donation needs and connect volunteers to needed areas. There are instructions for current volunteer center members to post COVID-19 related opportunities and a link for other (nonmember) organizations to submit needs stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. See the Volunteer Webpage. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a guide to help small businesses, independent contractors and gig economy workers prepare to file for a coronavirus relief loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The chamber’s Coronavirus Small Business Guide (available at outlines the steps small businesses should take now and prepare to access much-needed funds to help keep their workers on the payroll during this disruptive period. Further guides will be developed as the CARES Act becomes implemented.

Also, to help small businesses, the chamber has compiled an interactive map to show the aid available to them on a state-by-state basis (click here for more information). Small businesses can start applying for new SBA loans on April 3: U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced April 1 that applications for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Loan Program are available, and that starting April 3 small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders. Independent contractors and those who are self-employed can begin applying on April 10. The new SBA loan program provides small businesses with zero-fee loans of up to $10 million. Up to eight weeks of payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility costs can be forgiven. Payments on principal and interest are deferred for six months and up to one year. The interest rate on any part of the loan not forgiven has been set at 0.5%. Due to expected high demand, borrowers are encouraged to apply as early as possible. For more information on eligibility and directions on how to apply, click here. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a guide to help small businesses, independent contractors, and gig economy workers prepare to file for a coronavirus relief loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This guide outlines the steps small businesses should take now and prepare to access much-needed funds to help keep their workers on the payroll during this disruptive period. Access the Emergency Loan Small Business guide and checklist here.

Additionally, to help small businesses, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled an interactive map to show the aid available to them on a state-by-state basis. Use the graphic here to learn how aid available under the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program, created as part of the (CARES) Act, could help small businesses in each state. City of Racine deploys relief to support small businesses: Racine Mayor Cory Mason said recently the city of Racine is awarding $250,000 in forgivable loans to 18 local companies. The forgivable loans are being made as part of the Racine Small Business Emergency Fund, a newly created city initiative designed to support as many of its small businesses as possible in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The businesses selected represented three sectors: retail, restaurants and unique service providers. See more on the city's website. Local firm C2, serving the Milwaukee-area's creative community, has compiled a list of resources to help navigate through the coronavirus crisis. Information included in C2's COVID-19 Resources for Creatives varies from how to apply for unemployment, to resume suggestions, to the new FFCRA employee rights. The firm offers ideas, links and information to help under- and unemployed creatives. See C2's list of resources here. Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Milwaukee 7 and others will present a webinar on April 10 at 11 a.m. titled "Lessons Learned from Wisconsin CEOs" on how they are managing the COVID crisis. The program is part of the WEDC and the Regional Leadership Council’s COVID-19 CEO Leadership Series, with other webinars scheduled for April 17 and 24. Click here to register.

The Commons, an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, has designed a number of virtual internship “relief” programs for area companies to utilize, including a full 10-week virtual internship program, ensuring that interns can still connect with companies for a productive summer internship experience. Sourced through The Commons’ academic, corporate and community partners, selected students of all backgrounds and disciplines will work collaboratively on real-world innovation challenges. Participants will learn how to work collaboratively, develop an innovation mindset, and join professional development and leadership workshops focused on networking, mentorship and career readiness. Rather than companies forgoing internships or developing their own platform, the Commons can offer a way for corporations and universities to still stay connected to emerging talent. To learn more, contact Michael Hostad at


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