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The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is helping small businesses apply for federal disaster loans to mitigate the substantial economic injury as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There are centers all throughout the state that can provide consultation and guidance, including an office for southeastern Wisconsin on the UW-Parkside campus. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering designated states and territories, including Wisconsin as of March 20, low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for working capital as small businesses have been forced to close or scale back significantly to contain the spread of the virus.

“We’re being bombarded with information about the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is very important. The SBDC will assist with information about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program,” said Parkside SBDC Director Jim McPhaul. UW-Parkside buildings are currently closed to comply with the State’s “Safer at Home” order so McPhaul urges those in need of assistance to contact him directly at 262-595-3363. McPhaul’s colleague at the UW-Parkside SBDC office Mary Fischer-Tracy is their business consultant and can be reached at the same number. The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Parkside annually assists more than 300 small business owners and entrepreneurs in southeast Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin SBDC, a resource partner of the SBA, has created a webpage, to help business owners understand the qualifications and application process. Consultants across the network’s 13 locations are working remotely via phone, email, and virtual tools to assist clients. Those in the Kenosha area are urged to connect with the SBDC at UW-Parkside.

“Business owners face devastating, unprecedented challenges as cash flow and everyday lives are severely disrupted,” said Bon Wikenheiser, state director. “They need expert advice they can trust now more than ever.”

The Wisconsin SBDC Network, hosted by the University of Wisconsin System since 1980, offers no-cost, confidential consulting and business education to new and existing businesses. In 2019, the SBDC served 4,658 clients, resulting in $91.3 million in capital investment, 300 new businesses, and 19,717 jobs supported.

“The UW System and its universities are proud to partner with the SBDC Network, and we know what vital service and support it provides to businesses and people across the state,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “That will be critically important as we all face the widespread economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The SBDC Network is a trusted partner of the SBA,” said Eric Ness, Wisconsin’s SBA district director. “Small business owners should use their services to ease and expedite the loan submission process.”

Additional business resources can be found on Wisconsin SBDC’s website, and Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship’s website. The UW System is sharing updates regularly at their website.