Covid-19 Resources

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, many small businesses, non-profits, and local units of government are being negatively impacted and will continue to experience economic hardship as they attempt to respond to COVID-19. This page is meant to provide small businesses and local units of government with resources and information to help respond, recover, and overcome the challenges experienced during these unprecedented times. 

While additional programs are still being developed at the local, state and federal level, please know that BLRPC is working to identify the latest programs and opportunities and will update this page as soon as information becomes available. Please contact Sydney Swan with any questions. 

EDA Cares act recovery Assistance

EDA’s CARES Act Recovery Assistance is designed to provide a wide-range of financial assistance to communities and regions as they respond to, and recover from, the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The EDA Chicago Regional Office was provided with $225,000,000 to remain available until September 30, 2022, to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, … including for necessary expenses for responding to economic injury as a result of coronavirus.”

EDA has made these funds available through the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program using the existing procedures specified in the FY20 PWEAA NOFO.  Please see below for more information about the EDA CARES funding. 

Eligible Applicants - To be eligible, applicants must explain clearly in their application how the proposed project would “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus” or respond to “economic injury as a result of coronavirus.” Eligible Applicants include:

  • District Organization;
  • Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes;
  • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions;
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education; or
  • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State.

Eligible Projects- Proposed project must “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus” or respond to “economic injury as a result of coronavirus.” Examples of projects that may be funded through CARES Act Recovery Assistance include:

  • Economic recovery planning and preparing technical strategies to address economic dislocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Preparing or updating resiliency plans to respond to future pandemics.
  • Implementing entrepreneurial support programs to diversify economies.
  • Constructing public works and facilities that will support economic recovery, including the deployment of broadband for purposes including supporting telehealth and remote learning for job skills.

Project Cost and Match Requirments - Under PWEAA NOFO including NCC and CARES, applicants may request funding from $100,000 - $30,000,000. EDA will generally fund at least 80% , and up to 100% of elgibile project costs. The awardee must provide the remaining match of at least 20%. 

For more information, please see:

Funding Opportunities for small businesses (State and Federal)

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) - WEDC leads economic development efforts for the state by providing resources, operational support and financial assistance to companies, partners and communities in Wisconsin. Working with more than 600 partners across the state, including regional economic development organizations, academic institutions and industry clusters, WEDC develops and delivers solutions that help businesses, communities and people maximize their potential In Wisconsin. 

WEDC We’re All In Small Business Grant - The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) recently launched the ‘We’re All In’ grant initiative and will start accepting on-line applications on June 15th. Funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and announced by Governor Evers on May 18, the grants will help small businesses with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory. The program will provide $2,500 grants to 30,000 small businesses.

A business may apply for the We’re All In Small Business Grant if it:

  • Was in business in February 2020. Businesses that started in 2020 are not eligible;
  • Is Wisconsin-based and for-profit;
  • Employs 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, including the owner; and
  • Has more than $0 but less than $1 million in annual revenues.

Businesses will not be eligible for the grants if they are:

  • Part of a national chain, unless the business is a third-party franchise;
  • Industries covered by other Wisconsin CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund programs are ineligible for this program. These are:

To prepare for the online application process, businesses should be ready to upload the following documents to the WEDC application:

  • 2018 or 2019 federal tax return for business. (If you started your business in 2020, you are not eligible for this grant.)
  • Signed W-9 form
  • An email or letter of acknowledgement from a community organization indicating your business was in operation in February 2020. Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission is willing to write letters for small businesses. However, you may obtain a letter or email from any of the following: Chamber of commerce, Main Street or Connect Communities organization, Local business improvement district, Neighborhood economic development association, Local economic development organization, County economic development organization, Municipality, including tribal government, County, Local bank, credit union or community development financial institution, Regional UW Small Business Development Center, U.S Export Assistance Center – Wisconsin, Regional economic development organization, Trade association)

To apply or for more information, click here

Small Business 2020 - The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) recently approved Small Business 2020 (SB20/20), a program designed to help mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses in Wisconsin. The program will award $5 million to Wisconsin-based Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to create and distribute grants to their eligible clients. CDFIs will award eligible businesses up to $20,000 in grant funds for rent and payroll expenses.  To be eligible, businesses must be current loan recipients with the approved CDFI, have 20 or fewer employees, and have an annual revenue that is greater than $0 but less than $2 million.

To apply or for more information, click here

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) - The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. For more information about SBA, click here. SBA loan programs for COVID-19 assistance include: 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans – The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides small businesses with low interest working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses, and most private nonprofit organizations. Funds from these working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.  

For more information or to apply, click here

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program - The 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.

For additional information, click here.


Other Funding Opportunities for small businesses

Kiva - Kiva is a non-profit crowd-lending platform that expands access to capital by providing 0% interest loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world. 

Kiva U.S. Small Business Loans – In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Kiva released major changes to the Kiva U.S. program. Effective immediately, Kiva has expanded lending options for U.S. loan applicants by: expanding eligibility, increasing the maximum loan amount from $10,000 to $15,000, and offering a grace period of up to 6 months. This will allow for kiva loans to be accessed by more U.S. businesses with greater financial flexibility. To learn more about Kiva and to apply for a U.S. small business loan, click here

The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) - WWBIC has provided quality business and financial education coupled with access to fair capital and financial products since 1987. WWBIC provides targeted individuals who are interested in starting, strengthening or expanding businesses with access to critical resources such as responsible financial products and quality business and financial education.

WWBIC COVID-19 Fast Track Loan Program – The WWBIC COVID-19 Fast Track loan program is focused on existing businesses looking for business financing during COVID-19. Business owners have two options to pick from depending on their needs: a line of credit or a term loan. Funds may be used stand-alone or in participation with other loan funds.

For more information on WWBIC or to apply, click here. 

Facebook Small Business Grants Program - Facebook is offering $100 million in grants to support over 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries. Facebook will be accepting applications for grants in the coming weeks. For more information, click here.

Informational Resources 

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance- The CDC has provided interim guidance for businesses to plan and respond to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The interim guidance is intended to help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illness, included COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The interim guidance includes recommended strategies for employers to use now; planning for a possible COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.; planning considerations; and considerations for creating an infectious disease outbreak response plan. To view the CDC interim guidance, and additional resource and information from the CDC, click here. 

Wisconsin Small Business Development Center - The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network has created a page with important resources and information amid quickly changing conditions and unprecedented measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. To view the SBDC COVID-19 page, click here. 

SCORE – Score is offering free remote mentoring and online workshops to help businesses get through the unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19. To find a mentor or to view upcoming webinars for coronavirus-related concerns, click here

WBD – In addition to their deferment program specifically for WBD business borrowers, the WBD has created a page with resources for business borrows to access financial aid information from state and federal programs. To view this page, please click

Navigating Through COVID-19 in Wisconsin – Strategies and Resources for Small Businesses and Community GroupsThis guide was released by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and offers tips, ideas and  best practices compiled from local, state and national resources to allow our downtown districts and local businesses to survive and thrive in light of current and rapidly changing circumstances. To view the guide, click here.