JEFFERSON — Thrive Economic Development and the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Whitewater announced Wednesday they have a program in place to address the unprecedented economic and operational challenges faced by small businesses in Jefferson and Dodge counties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two entities announced the creation of the “Back to Business Program” for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, located in Jefferson and Dodge counties.

“Back to Business is a community business crisis response program that will assist small businesses affected by COVID-19, by delivering help and hope designed to ensure that our businesses survive, recover and are ready to grow post-pandemic,” Vicki Pratt, president of ThriveED said. “We know this is an incredibly challenging time for businesses in the Jefferson and Dodge county region. “This program is about being responsive to our employers and helping them understand and access available resources.”

To date, according to Pratt, three federal packages have been signed into law and more could come. These programs include:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan
  • Paycheck Protection Program
  • Small Business Debt Relief Program
  • Emergency Economic Injury Grant

“Navigating these programs and resources can be a daunting task for a business. That’s where Back to Business can help,” Pratt said.

“Whether it’s helping a business determine its eligibility for new loan and grant programs created by federal, state or local legislation, or helping them understand forbearance options that might be available to them from lenders, landlords and suppliers, our goal is to provide personalized guidance,” Kevin Kaufman, director of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Whitewater, said.

The program will utilize the Wisconsin SBDC’s existing model of providing no-cost, confidential consulting to businesses by tapping into its network of consultants with a wide range of specialties, including legal, accounting and risk management.

“Our region will bounce back from this, stronger than ever,” Pratt said. “We’re ready to help support and assist employers so they can get back to business.”

Back to Business has been available since Wednesday and will remain available through the end of July. Services are offered virtually and are provided free of charge. More information, as well as the intake form to request services, can be found on the ThriveED website.

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