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COVID-19 Business Resources

COVID-19 Business Resources

We're Here for You!

At the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation we live our mission to support area businesses.  While news is rapidly evolving, here is a list of current resources for businesses to utilize to help respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

(This information will be updated on daily basis as news comes in.)

Phase 2 of the We're All In Small Business Grant to Open October 19

We're All In Small Business Grant - Phase 2

In an effort to provide much-needed financial assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, the state of Wisconsin is launching Phase 2 of the We're All In Small Business Grant program. Phase 2 will open on Monday, October 19 at 8 a.m. and will accept applications through Monday, November 2. As part of a $100 million economic stabilization initiative launched by Wisconsin offering financial aid to small businesses and targeted industries, more than $50 million of additional CARES Act funding will be made available to Wisconsin businesses hit hard by the pandemic as part of Phase 2.

Phase 2 will award grants of $5,000 to eligible businesses, with priority given to businesses who did not receive a grant from the WEDC in Phase 1, have ethnic minority ownership, and are in an industry with the greatest negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 2 of the We're All In Small Business Grant will be administered by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (WI DOR) in partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Additional information regarding Phase 2 and the application for Phase 2 will be available here. Interested applicants can also visit this Frequently Asked Questions - Phase 2 page for more information.

CLICK HERE to Download the Governor's Press Release

CLICK HERE to Download the WEDC Press Release

June 10, 2020

The We're All In Grant online application to help small business launches in less than a week! During this time please know that the VCEDC is here to help as you prepare your materials, writing letters of support and answering questions that you may have regarding the application process.

As a reminder, the application will launch at 8 a.m. Monday, June 15 and extend through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, June 23. The recently announced We’re All In grant initiative by Governor Evers provides $2,500 grants to 30,000 small businesses. It is designed to help small businesses get back on their feet amid the COVID-19 pandemic while also encouraging businesses to adopt best practices to keep employees, customers and communities safe. Funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and announced by Governor Evers on May 18 We're All In Announcement, 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.

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:
  • Crop Production
  • Animal Production or Aquaculture
  • Lessors of Residential Buildings and Dwellings (

To prepare for the online application process, businesses should be ready to upload the following documents to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) application site:

  • 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 available at
  • An email or letter of acknowledgement from a community organization indicating your business was in operation in February 2020. Letters or emails can be 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
  • Regional Planning Commission
  • Trade association

 Sample text for a letter or email can be found at

  • Three-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that best fits their business. This information may be included in a business’s tax return, or through the NAICS website:

Visit for the application link and more details including Frequently Asked Questions and contact information for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Should you need a letter of support or help with a question, contact Kathy Schmitz, VCEDC Executive Director, at [email protected] or (715) 337-0061.


May 14, 2020


WIsconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Guidance for Reopening

May 14, 2020

Vilas County Declaration to Re-Open Businesses based on Wisconsin Supreme Court decision.

May 14, 2020

Return to Work 8 Steps booklet that you will find to be a valued resource:

May 14, 2020

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation also provides re-open guidelines to enable you to open safely and protect your employees and your customers.

May 7 & 8, 2020

WXPR Radio Hosts Northwoods Covid-19 Business, Health, Recreation Forum including VCEDC Executive Director 


May 11, 2020

Gov. Evers Announces Another Turn of the Dial for Wisconsin Businesses 

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced another turn of the dial on Safer at Home to add even more opportunities for Wisconsin businesses to get back to work in a safe and responsible way.

Emergency Order #36, signed today by Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, allows all standalone or strip-mall based retail stores to offer in-person shopping for up to five customers at a time while maintaining required social distancing practices. Additionally, the Emergency Order signed today allows drive-in theaters to operate with some restrictions. All businesses must continue to follow all safety precautions and guidelines as outlined in the Safer at Home order

For a copy of the full press release visit: 

Covid-19:  Governor Evers WI Badger Bounce Back Plan

The Badger Bounce Back is Wisconsin’s plan to decrease COVID-19 cases and deaths to a low level and increase capacity in our health care system so that a phased reopening of businesses is possible. And that means people can get back to work.

Here is a link to best practices and safety guidelines for Wisconsin businesses as part of the Badger Bounce Back plan. .

May 5, 2020

Vilas County economic leaders ready to help

Letter to the Editor published in the Vilas County News Review

April 24, 2020

Local  Expert: Cybercriminal Activity On The Rise During Pandemic 

WXPR Radio Interview - Featuring Bill Niemuth, VCEDC Board Member and President, Loss Mitigation Solutions 

Please click on the following link to view.

April 17, 2020

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy -  A Small Business Toolkit from Marshfield Clinic

Please click on the following link to access a toolkit provided by Marshfield Clinic to support businesses with social distancing for employees and patrons.  There are some useful flyers which include information for everyone to stay safe.   

Business Toolkit for Social Distancing

April 16, 2020

Governor Evers Extends Safer at Home Order Until May 26, 2020

The following is a link to Wisconsin’s newest Safer at Home Order. This Order shall become effective at 8 am on Friday, April 24, 2020 and remain in effect until 8 am on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. There are revisions to the current order, so please read carefully.

 April 14, 2020

USDA Resource Guide -

April 13, 2020

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)

WEDC Announces Eligible CDFI's

for SB2020 Program

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)

participating in the SB2020 Program:

Approved CDFIs or collaborations of CDFIs will award grants of up to $20,000 to their existing loan clients to assist with cash-flow challenges resulting from COVID-19. More information on the program is available via a link in the document.

While this program’s applicability and funding are limited, stay tuned for the possibility of additional initiatives that may be more broadly available as we move forward and keep referring businesses to the SBA loan program:

March 31, 2020

Central Wisconsin Economic Development (CWED) Fund, Inc.
Micro Loan Available

The Central Wisconsin Economic Development (CWED) Fund, Inc. is now open to new borrowers to its Micro-loan program. The CWED Loan Committee is working with existing borrowers at their request, to defer principal payments or principal and interest payments. New loan applications will be accepted as before, and the loan committee is set up to review and respond as quickly as possible. 

The CWED Micro-loan Program has the following features:

Loan size - $5,000 - $50,000

Use of Funds – working capital, inventory purchase, machinery and equipment, furniture, fixtures, supplies, leasehold improvements, minor building renovation/rehabilitation or natural disaster recovery.

Matching Funds – private funds must be invested with a minimum of 20% matching requirement.

Interest rate – to be established by the CWED Board, the current floor is 3% and they are using between 4-6% at this time with other new loans.

Collateral – is required and will usually take the form of security interest in all of the applicant’s assets.

Personal Guarantees – unlimited personal guarantees are required from any person with a 20% or greater ownership interest in the business.

Repayment – monthly repayment required. Under special circumstances, payment of interest and/or principal may be deferred with Board (or loan committee) approval for a period up to 12 months. 

The Committee will be focused on assisting the businesses. Requirements like the 20% matching private funds may be relaxed, based on the borrower.

For more information contact Kristen Fish-Peterson at (715) 581-1452 .

March 30, 2020

Small Business Owner's Guide to CARES Act

Small Business Q & A

The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. 

This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA. To keep up to date on when these programs become available, please stay in contact with your local Small Business Administration (SBA) District Office, which you can locate here. Struggling to get started? 

The following questions might help point you in the right direction. Do you need: • Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees? Then the Paycheck Protection Program might be right for you. • A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now? You might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant. • To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help. • Just some quality, free counseling to help you navigate this uncertain economic time? The resource partners might be your best bet.

Click here for the full Q & A document:

March 25, 2020

All businesses are encouraged to carefully read Executive Order #12 (Safer at Home) to identify if their business, or any part of their business, is determined to be essential under the order.

 Should you have any questions after reading the order, further guidance can be found at In the circumstance that a business is performing essential functions not included in these approved categories, it may request to be designated as essential by submitting the form available at the link above to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

 March 24, 2020

Below is a link to Governor Evers Safer At Home Order. This order shall become effective at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.

March 23, 2020

COVID-19 Resources for Manufacturers

Members of the MEP National Network have developed a list of the available resources to help Wisconsin manufacturers during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

They intend this to be a one-stop shop for many of questions, big and small. Information will be updated on this resource page as it becomes available, click here.

March 21, 2020

Wisconsin has now been added to the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance program.  Please click on this link via the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and their COVID-19 Business Resources page:

For the SBA site go to:

March 18, 2020

WEDC announces targeted grants to small businesses suffering losses due to coronavirus emergency

Greater Northwoods Supporting Small Business

Here is an online resource with a list of local small businesses offering gift cards and specials - anything that will increase your revenue during this social distancing phase.  

The goal is to encourage our community to keep shopping/eating/spending money locally - to connect the community with ways they can support local businesses.

So far, there are more than 60 business owners who have submitted their information and thousands of people have visited the page. But we need to cast a much larger net and get all local businesses in there.

So if you want to add your business, or you know of a business, or you’d like to share it on social media… please follow this link:

To ensure that your your business listed, please fill out this form:

March 17, 2020

Small Business Association Offering Assistance

Facebook Grants

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash and ad grants to businesses.

Want to learn why Vilas County is one of the best places to live, work, and play?

Reach out to the folks at the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation today!

Contact Us

Want to learn why Vilas County is one of the best places to live, work, and play?

We can email you a PDF highlighting many of the wonderful aspects of our area.

Download this 8-page PDF article here: