Updated: July 14, 2020

LADCO is available to assist directing its members to resources to help address business concerns about the COVID-19 situation.

For live updates, please visit WEDC and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

For general concerns or status updates on the COVID-19 situation, LADCO recommends our members to visit www.coronavirus.gov.ly

The La Crosse Area Development Corporation (LADCO) and The 7 Rivers Alliance, delivered a position statement to Governor Evers on the extension of the governor’s Safer at Home Order (Emergency Order #12) has been extended (Emergency Order #28) until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26 or until a superseding order is issued.

7 Rivers and LADCO’s letter encourages Governor Evers to put together a pandemic advisory committee representing the various sectors of Wisconsin’s businesses — such as agriculture, representative municipal officials, manufacturing, health care, tourism, education and small businesses — along with members of the public health and medical communities. The hope is this balanced approach, taking into account there remain many unmet needs in our state and at the local level, including state-wide health care capacity, wide-spread state and local testing, contract tracing, isolation capacity and available PPE, will best determine how and when Wisconsin is going to open up for business.

Click here for our letter.

La Crosse County Businesses Invited to Check the Spread

La Crosse County Health Department, together with The Weber Group, Downtown Mainstreet Inc, La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce, La Crosse Area Development Corporation, Explore La Crosse, Mayo Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health System is launching a new initiative inviting businesses to Check the Spread of COVID-19. Check the Spread will help to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the community while inspiring consumer and customer confidence in local businesses. Safer environments and safer businesses lead to a stronger economy.

For more details:  https://www.checkthespread.org

Make the pledge:  https://www.checkthespread.org/commitment-form

State of Wisconsin COVID-19 Resources

By working together, we can overcome the unprecedented challenges COVID-19 has put on us all. Focus Forward provides tools, information and inspiration related to business, community and personal resilience. It’s a place to communicate and connect regularly, where you’ll find information on financial and operational assistance programs from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and other state and federal partners that will prepare you for economic recovery.

To learn more, click HERE.

Applications extended until June 26 for $75 million We’re All In Small Business Grants

More than 26,000 businesses have already applied for the $2,500 grants

MADISON, June 24, 2020 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is extending the deadline until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 26, for small businesses to apply online for the $2,500 We’re All In Small Business Grants, WEDC officials announced today. WEDC had received more than 26,000 applications as of late Tuesday night, when applications were originally scheduled to close. The deadline was extended to give additional businesses more time to get needed documents and submit their information to WEDC. The program, which will provide $2,500 grants to 30,000 small businesses, is designed to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, while also encouraging them to adopt best practices to keep employees, customers and communities safe.

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

  • Started operating prior to Jan. 1, 2020, and was operating as of Feb. 2020;
  • 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.

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. (Businesses started in 2020 are not eligible for this grant.)
  • Signed and dated W-9 form available at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf
  • An email or letter of acknowledgement from a community organization indicating the business was in operation in February 2020.

Grant recipients will become We’re All In businesses by pledging to observe safety protocols in their shops, cafes and places of work to protect their customers, employees, and communities. This network of Main Street businesses will form the backbone of a broader We’re All In initiative to be joined by major Wisconsin businesses, communities and other associations to encourage support for and demonstrate best health and safety practices in public places.

To see the full release, please click here.

The online application, FAQs, and other information about the grant can be found at https://wedc.org/programs-and-resources/wai-small-business-grant/.

**Please note, one of the requirements for this grant application is a letter or email of acknowledgement from a community organization indicating your business was in operation in February 2020. Please feel free to reach out to myself for a letter. LADCO is considered a “community organization”.

Actively Available Programs

City of La Crosse

As many businesses work to meet the persistent demands during these difficult and uncertain times, it’s apparent that the financial burden may be too much to bear.

The Small Business Recovery Fund will provide grants up to $5,000 to small locally owned retail, restaurant, and personal service storefront businesses from 1 – 20* employees that are located in the central commercial districts within La Crosse County.

To Apply for the Loan, click here

If you would like to join us to support this program and the local small businesses in our community please consider a donation at this time. The goal of the Launch La Crosse Business Recovery Fund is to mobilize funds in our community quickly to preserve businesses while providing training and technical assistance to promote long-term business recovery. We can make a difference when we work together to save the small businesses in the heart of our own communities.

Donations can be made online here.

An immediate pause for all business currently participating in any of the City-loan payments, including capital, small business development and upper floor renovation loans for the next three (3) months.

For more information on City programs, please contact Andrea Schnick, Economic Development Planner at (608) 789-8321 or schnicka@cityoflacrosse.org.

Other Actively Available Programs

Kiva is a crowd-lending platform that provides 0% loans to small businesses through a platform of online lenders (local and global).

WEDC initiated a 1:1 match for loans for downtown businesses that are women, minority or veteran-owned last year to expedite funding for these projects.

Effective Immediately, U.S. applicants for a Kiva loan will have access to the following:

  • Expanded eligibility: Eligibility has been expanded to include start-ups and small businesses (under 50 employees)
  • Larger loans: The maximum loan on the Kiva platform has increased to $15,000
  • Grace period: applicants may receive a grace period of up to 6 months for greater financial flexibility

Directions/assistance in applying for the loans will be coming shortly. Please stay tuned to the kiva.org website for the most up-to-date information. We will continue to keep our information updated as timely as possible.

WEDC’s Small Business 20/20 program works with community development financial institutions (CDFI’s) to distribute grant funds to their qualifying clients. The CDFI, not WEDC, will provide the grants to businesses directly. Funds from the SB20/20 program will be distributed by participating CDFI’s to their current clients. Businesses who are not currently CDFI clients are not eligible to access these funds, but work to expand access to funding through other programs is currently being done. For more information on the WEDC’s SB20/20 program, please follow this link, SB20/20.

Programs Coming Soon

The WEDC is working with the CDFI’s to offer tailored resources and innovative programs to LADCO members that invest federal dollars alongside private sector capital. LADCO is working with the WEDC to help make capital available to its small business members to assist them in getting through the crisis they will be facing in the coming weeks.

Grants up to $20,000 will be available. Please visit the WEDC’s page to learn more about the coming opportunity.

Pay Attention to Local Orders

While the Safer-at-Home order is no longer in effect, several localities, including Dane County, Milwaukee County, Brown County, La Crosse County, Rock County, Kenosha County, the City of Milwaukee, the City of Appleton, the City of Racine and at least 18 other cities have passed their own health orders, which include significant business operating restrictions. The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision did not address and does not impact those local orders, which for now means that other counties and municipalities can be expected to follow suit. Employers always need to ensure that a return-to-work plan complies with any existing, applicable local health orders and, if any new statewide orders are issued, those orders as well.

Consider all Resources

Once the ability to lawfully operate under any applicable orders is confirmed, there remains a host of employment law and public health issues that employers will need to address as they develop and implement return-to-work plans. Moreover, different industry sectors may have drastically different requirements and guidelines to follow in connection with their physical return to work. There is simply no “one-size-fits-all” approach to returning to work and that makes the process all the more challenging for employers.

Legal requirements and recommended health and safety practice guidance is changing almost daily, so it is very important for employers to keep up with the latest developments. As an example, Wisconsin employers electing to reopen should review the Wisconsin Economic Development Commission’s Reopening Guidelines, which include industry-specific advice for protecting employees and the public.

Recalling Furloughed Employees

Some employers may determine that they cannot return all employees to the workforce. Some employers may need to recall employees on a slower timeline depending on demand, social distancing imperatives, and the timeline for production. Others may want to recall everyone, but may need to revisit the terms of employment. When evaluating these issues, employers should consider their obligations under their agreements and policies, including any collective bargaining agreements. Employers should also consider potential adverse impact and the wide range of anti-discrimination laws when selecting who to return from furlough.

We will continue to address these and other critical business related pandemic issues impacting our members. LADCO stands ready to serve our member businesses and community partners.


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