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March 26, 2020

Dear readers,

The U.S. Senate has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, a coronavirus stimulus package. It still needs to pass muster in the House of Representatives and be signed into law by President Trump, but assuming such action occurs it will be the biggest rescue package in American history. The $2-trillion package seeks to provide emergency financial assistance to people and businesses as the coronavirus pandemic touches citizens, markets and the broader economy. Here’s a rough breakdown on where the money will go:

  • About $367 billion for an emergency loan program for small businesses.
  • About $150 billion for state and local stimulus.
  • About $130 billion for hospitals and nursing homes.
  • About $425 billion for industries, cities and states, with the requirement that industry funds cannot be used to buy back stock.
  • About $50 billion in aid to passenger airlines.
  • About $300 million is targeted to taxpayers in the form of cash payments at graduated amounts based on individual joint adjusted gross income levels. Payments of $1,200 (plus $500/child) will be available to many Americans, with phaseouts based on income exceeding $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers as reported on the 2018 or 2019 Form 1040, if already filed.
  • Enough to fund $600 a week in unemployment insurance for four months. This benefit would be in addition to state unemployment insurance payments.

Below, you’ll find more detail on this and other updates. You will also find a link to the recorded version of an online conference call held March 25 with Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Secretary Missy Hughes and others.

Listen to the WEDC-led March 25th conference call here.

Stay tuned for announcements about virtual Tech Council webinars on COVID-19 issues of interest to our members and others.


Tom Still, president


  • WEDC Small Business 2020 Program: Assistance will be available to Wisconsin-based Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) List of All 23 CDFIs in Wisconsin to provide grants to their existing loan clients to help mitigate business-related cash flow issues in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Approved CDFIs will make program grants (up to $20,000) available to for-profit businesses meeting the following: criteria: Current loan recipient in good standing as of 3/1/20 with the approved CDFI (or its collaborating CDFIs);20 or fewer PT/FT employees; Greater than $0 but less than $2 million in annual revenues; and, preference should be given to service and retail businesses
  • Gov. Evers’ office has launched a statewide COVID-19 website that aggregates information and resources throughout state government.
  • SBA: COVID-19: Small business guidance and loan resources.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development produced this helpful Frequently Asked Questions document.
  • WEDC has compiled a comprehensive overview of their resources along with state and federal resources to assist Wisconsin citizens aimed at maintaining the viability of the companies upon which our economy depends.
  • Report any scams or price gouging to Wisconsin Department of Justice: If you suspect fraud or a scam, Attorney General Kaul suggests filing a complaint online at
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) has guidance for businesses, and is offering low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) for businesses and non-profits impacted by coronavirus
  • Centers for Disease Control: Coronavirus latest updates
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services: COVID-19 Outbreaks in Wisconsin
  • The FDIC has provided guidance to banking institutions and consumers affected by COVID-19 and encouraged financial institutions to work constructively with borrowers and customers in affected communities.
  • The Department of Labor has issued guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements.
  • Facebook is offering $100 million in small business grants across 30 countries.
  • The Angel Capital Association is holding a webinar 03/27 at 11 CST on advising portfolio companies ($100 for non-members).
  • NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers are providing services to small- and medium-sized manufacturers such as connecting businesses that are pivoting their production in response to the coronavirus to new supply chains, connecting firms with state resources, advising companies on new operational issues, and providing workforce support.

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Move to online schools offers students chance to enter ‘Wisconsin YES!’ business plan contest
The closing of schools across Wisconsin due to the COVID-19 epidemic means teachers and students will pursue instruction opportunities online in the coming weeks. One useful tool readily available for middle- and high-school students is the Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, or Wisconsin YES!, contest. Public, private and home-schooled students across Wisconsin are eligible to turn their science- and tech-related ideas into business plans and compete for cash and prizes. This free, statewide youth business plan contest is modeled after the successful Governor’s Business Plan Contest. It is open for online entries from Wisconsin middle- and high-school students through 5 p.m. April 13, 2020. The contest begins with a 250-word summary submitted through
 YES logo web version

In cloudy times for business and the economy, some signs of silver linings 
From tech to tourism, and from real estate to retail, businesses of all descriptions are adapting to the reality of life in the coronavirus era and whatever follows. It is difficult for all and frightening for many.

With many people facing daily if not hourly challenges to business survival, it can be hard to spot trends that may leave the economy stronger once the public health crisis passes and consumer confidence slowly returns. Here are a few possibilities: click to read in our newsroom.

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Thoughts on high risk/reward entrepreneurship in troubled times

By Paul Jones

The world is in crisis. We can argue about how serious the present crisis is relative to its predecessors, but it is, in living memory at least, of an unprecedented nature. And if it is not yet affecting pretty much everyone everywhere, give it a few days or weeks and it will be. 

For those of us in the high-impact entrepreneurship and investing space, the crisis will have a huge impact. That said, probably a lesser impact, across the sector, than many other sectors will experience. Most airlines, and at least a healthy minority of small businesses, for example, are facing an existential and immediate threat of financial catastrophe.

Tech Council member Paul Jones is of counsel at Michael Best.
Read his full column in our newsroom.

 Jones, Paul 040819

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