Business News for October 23, 2020
Today's message includes the following funding opportunities, news, best practices, and online courses:

  • Funding Opportunities
  • We're All In Grants, Phase 2
  • COVID-19 Community & Economic Stabilization Grant Program
  • Middleton Area Loan Program
  • BrightStar Wisconsin Seeks Business for Investment
  • Business News & Best Practices
  • Judge Denies Lawsuit to Block Wisconsin's Mask Mandate
  • Motivating Remote Workers
  • Handling a COVID Outbreak in Your Business
  • Upcoming SBDC Learning Opportunities (10% off registration links below!)
  • Skills for Conflict and Negotiation
  • Communication & Delegation
  • Fearless Performance Management
Funding Opportunities
We're All In Grants, Phase 2
Applications now open
Phase 2 of the We’re All In Small Business Grant applications are now open. Businesses can receive grants of $5,000 each to 10,000 additional Wisconsin small businesses.

Key Points to Know
  • Have your 2019 federal tax return and NAICS code ready when applying.
  • You MAY apply for Phase 2 if you previously applied for Phase 1 (even if you received a grant in Phase 1)
  • These grants are considered taxable income

Learn more and apply on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website.
COVID-19 Community & Economic Stabilization Grant Program
For several sectors that have been especially hard hit by COVID-19, there are additional grant funds available in the following categories:

Middleton Area Offers Loan Program
The Middleton Area Development Corporation (MADC) is collaborating with the City of Middleton to provide a new loan fund known as the Middleton Economic Relief Loan (MERL) program. 

MERL applicants can request loans from $5,000 to a maximum of $25,000.  The interest rate is 1.00%. Interest does not apply until January 1, 2022 at which time principal and interest payments will be required monthly. 

BrightStar Wisconsin Seeks Business for Investment
BrightStar Wisconsin seeks entrepreneurs offering the following type of investment opportunity:
  • An opportunity that will drive quality, sustaining jobs for a 21st Century Wisconsin economy
  • An innovative, usually technology based, idea (whether it be a product or service based company) with barriers to entry 
  • A large addressable target market or a trending market with expected rapid growth
  • A business that is rapidly scalable to a national level

Interested businesses can begin the process by registering their business with BrightStar Wisconsin.
Other Business News & Best Practices
Judge Denies Lawsuit to Block Wisconsin's Mask Mandate
Face Mask 2
The statewide mask mandate is here to stay - at least for now. In August, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), of Milwaukee, filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tony Evers, alleging he violated state law by declaring a second public health emergency on July 30. WILL contended state law forbids a governor from unilaterally extending a public health emergency beyond 60 days or skirting the law by declaring multiple 60-day emergencies for the same crisis.

On October 12, Judge Michael Waterman of the St. Croix County Circuit Court denied the group's temporary injunction lawsuit, writing the plaintiffs' requested injunction "goes well beyond their private interests."

The current order is set to expire on November 21, 2020, and WILL has asked - as of October 22 - the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take over the case.

Motivating Remote Workers
Internal communications can keep remote workers engaged
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to drag on month after month - and company resources for tangible rewards like employee bonuses potentially waning - businesses are looking for opportunities to keep employees engaged and motivated. One simple way to do this is through your internal communications systems and processes. By choosing the right channels, creating or enhancing recognition programs, and reminding employees of their purpose are just a few ways to enhance motivation.

The Performance Management process is another opportunity to improve communication with your team. Register for Fearless Performance Management, November 9-11 (more information below).
Handling a COVID Outbreak in Your Business
SLH offering a 10/26 webinar for details
DHS is working with the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene to host a webinar to walk through the COVID-19 health guidelines and discuss consulting services available to help businesses deal with these challenging times. The new consulting service can help your business community develop - at no cost - a COVID Exposure Prevention, Preparedness and Response Plan, conduct an analysis of your workplace, and identify ideas for administrative, engineering and PPE controls to reduce COVID exposure in your workplace.
Upcoming SBDC Learning Opportunities
Skills for Conflict and Negotiation
October 27, 2020 - Use link below for 10% off!
In the time of COVID, when many teams are working remotely, there can be more opportunities for miscommunication and a heightened level of stress and uncertainty. Given this environment, conflict becomes a regular piece of the leadership puzzle. In this class, you will learn how to turn conflict into collaborations and reach win-win resolutions that can deepen relationships, build trust and reach more creative solutions.

Read the full class description here
REGISTER for Skills for Conflict & Negotiation (promo link, 10% off registration)
Communication & Delegation
November 2-4, 2020 - Use link below for 10% off!
Through our Communication & Delegation course, you will have the opportunity to better understand your go-to communication style as a leader through the DiSC Personal Profile and use the results to strengthen your business relationships, connect more effectively with members of your team, and delegate tasks in a way that enables both parties to be more confident and successful in the distribution of work.

Read the full class description here
REGISTER for Communication & Delegation (promo link, 10% off registration)
Fearless Performance Management
November 9-11, 2020 - Use link below for 10% off!
Providing performance evaluations can be intimidating for new leaders. However, this often-dreaded task can instead be an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your team. By dedicating time to offer positive feedback, express confidence in your employees' ability to improve, and better understand barriers your team may face in completing their work, you become a partner in the process. Particularly with the uncertainty of COVID, performance reviews can be a great opportunity to provide structure and a place to establish or enhance two-way communication with your team.

Read the full class description here
REGISTER for Fearless Performance Management (promo link, 10% off registration)
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.