Business News for September 1, 2021
Today's message includes the following news, best practices, and online courses:
  • Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants
  • Workforce Innovation Grant Program to Fund Innovative Workforce Solutions
  • Cash Flow Management Tips for Small Businesses
  • Dane Buy Local - Local Biz Awards
  • Employer Vaccine Forum: how the Delta variant is affecting businesses
  • View Forward Fest event recordings from the Innovate Network

Client Spotlight: Erica Hainz Opened Fiddlesticks Knits During COVID  

Upcoming SBDC Learning Opportunities
  • Full SBDC fall 2021 class calendar is here!
  • SHRM Certification Preparation Course for HR professionals
  • The Freelance Economy webinar
  • Launch into Leadership
Business News, Updates, and Best Practices
Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants
Grant funding supports upskilling your workforce with occupational training
The objective of the Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) grant program is to award funds to businesses from all Wisconsin industry sectors that reimburse the costs of customized occupational training for unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers.

  • The customized, business-driven training will qualify workers for full-time employment, higher level employment, or increased wages.
  • Grant awards range from $5,000 to $400,000 per grantee.
  • Match: Cash or in-kind match equal to 50% of the amount of the grant award is required.
  • Application Deadline: 3:00 p.m. CST on Monday, October 18, 2021

New Grant Program to Fund Innovative Workforce Solutions
seeking collaborative solutions from nonprofits and public bodies
The Workforce Innovation Grant Program will offer grants of up to $10 million each for at least 10 local and regional collaborations that submit proposals representing innovative thinking and data-driven planning, and that leverage existing infrastructure to connect the dots for post-pandemic workforce solutions.

Applicant Eligibility
Non-profit or public body

Use of Funds
Winning proposals will identify the region’s most pressing pandemic-related challenges, and offer solutions through a myriad of ways, including but not limited to:
  • Training and/or reskilling initiatives for in-demand jobs
  • Transit solutions or broadband
  • Planning
  • Marketing
  • Childcare solutions or supportive services
  • Career Counseling or Coaching
  • Piloting or implementing replicable/sustainable ideas/best practices

Cash Flow Management Tips for Small Businesses
from the ASBDC blog
by Mobilization Funding
Cash flow management is the tracking and analyzing of how money flows in and out of your business, forecasting when new cash will be coming in and how/when you will use that cash. Managing your cash flow sources and uses of that cash can make or break your business. A U.S. Bank study showed that 82 percent of small businesses fail because of poor cash flow management. Yet good cash flow management is within your reach, even if you are just starting your business.

Start Tracking Your Cash Flow Now
Remember, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Start recording expenses and revenue on a weekly basis and see what trends start to emerge.

Hire a Certified Public Accountant
Worried about the expense? Consider this: How much would you pay for the following benefits to your business:
• Savings on taxes and avoiding late and overdraft fees
• Reducing the time you are running numbers or chasing checks down from your customers, when you could be running your business
• Reaching your goals because you have a financial plan that supports them

Understand Your Financial Options
Knowing your financial options doesn’t mean you have to take out a loan or a line of credit. It doesn’t mean your business is in trouble. It means you are doing the smart thing in advance — planning for a rainy day or the next great opportunity for growth.

Read more details about cash flow management on the ASBDC blog
Dane Buy Local - Local Biz Awards
Nominations due by September 7
The Sixth Annual Local Biz Awards will be held October 7, 2021, at Holy Wisdom Monastery, 4200 County Hwy M, Middleton. Dane Buy Local members will be recognized for inspiration, involvement, achievement, and leadership in their neighborhoods, communities and Dane Buy Local. Winners will be announced the night of the event.

Nominations are due September 7, 2021 by midnight.

Nomination Details & Criteria
  • Self-nominations are welcomed. Multiple nominations are acceptable.
  • Nominees in all categories must be a current member of Dane Buy Local.
  • Nominees must serve as an inspiration to other locally-owned, independent businesses and be involved in their neighborhoods and/or communities and Dane Buy Local

how the Delta variant is affecting businesses
In Episode 5 of the Wisconsin Employer Vaccine Forum, you’ll hear how the Delta variant is affecting businesses and discussions about mandates in our state. Join Sheila Nyberg, executive director of the Clark County Economic Development Corporation and the Tourism Bureau of Clark County; Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health; and Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, as they discuss:
  • Vaccination rates in Wisconsin
  • How the Delta variant could impact businesses
  • If businesses will implement vaccination and mask mandates
Watch the latest episode or any others from the five-episode video series to gain important and timely insights on the vaccine from leading employment law, human resources and financial management professionals.
You can also download WEDC’s Vaccine Guidelines for Employers for ideas and resources on how to best promote vaccines in the workplace.

Missed our Innovate Network Events at Forward Fest?
view the recordings at the link below!
Thank you to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) for co-sponsoring the Forward Fest events with the Innovate Network!

Events included:
  • BookMarkIT: Free Tools, Tips & Resources from Your Local Libraries
  • Biotech Spotlight: Startups, Scaleup and Growth
  • Biotech Spotlight: How AI and Advanced Computing are Driving Innovation in Biohealth
  • Forward BIOLABS Virtual Tour & Startup Flash Talks
  • Launch, Learn + Pivot: Madison Startup Stories
Client Spotlight
Image of Erica Hainz from
Erica Hainz Opened Fiddlesticks Knits During COVID  
boutique yarn shop supports local fiber arts enthusiasts
SBDC client Erica Hainz opened east side yarn shop Fiddlesticks Knits based on the growing interest in fiber arts during COVID. Her colorful shop has created an accessible space geared toward offering quality, affordable yarn options.

Erica worked with the SBDC on market research on the east side in order to determine whether she had a large enough potential customer base. Tactics she used to make this determination included determining bus routes, the number of people in local online knitting groups, using U.S. Census data to estimate how many Madisonians knit or crochet, and distributing "her own survey, hearing from some respondents that they’d been taking the bus an hour each way to Verona."

“The more I started doing some research, I realized what a great opportunity this was. It just made business sense,” Hainz said. “I know the people are out there. I found them, and I know they will come.”

Upcoming SBDC Learning Opportunities
SHRM Certification Preparation Course
for HR professionals; starts September 21, 2021
Did you know that the SBDC offers the SHRM Certification Preparation Course? Designed for HR professionals, this 10-week course prepares you to take the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam. Taught by experienced HR professionals who integrate real-life examples into their instruction. With three different instructors, you also will have the opportunity to hear from different perspectives. Share with an HR professional you know today!
The Freelance Economy
September 24, 2021
This webinar describes how to use online freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr. Individuals learn how to launch and grow freelance careers, while small businesses learn how to grow using sourced labor and assistance from around the globe. Comes with downloadable notes.
Launch into Leadership
September 29, 30 & October 1, 2021
Taking on new supervisory responsibilities is a great opportunity and challenge. Many in supervisory roles have learned either by trial and error or by following what was done by their predecessor. In most cases, this is not a very effective strategy. This virtual online series will start you in the right direction with fundamental leadership skills and ideas for how to continue your growth as a supervisor and leader.
Our Full SBDC Fall 2021 Class Calendar is Here!
We are excited to share our fall 2021 class calendar with you! Here is a sampling of a few of the courses coming up this semester:

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at or 608-263-2221 to request accommodations.

The Wisconsin SBDC Network is a proud part of the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship in the University of Wisconsin System. It is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.