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Entries for April 2020

28

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Forward Janesville is pitching to state officials and area communities a framework to safely restart local economies that have been halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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22

(Rock County, WI) The results from the statewide COVID-19 impact assessment are in and those findings underscore just how fragile the economic landscape has become in a relatively short period of time. Statewide, 35% of the businesses participating in the assessment reported that closures are on the horizon if the current pandemic-related conditions persist more than three months. The impact assessment represents a collaborative statewide project – engaging various local, county, regional and statewide economic and workforce development partners – that collected and analyzed data during the first ten days of April 2020, from nearly 2,550 businesses.

The results provide a chilling view of how Wisconsin’s COVID-19 related public health mandates have impacted businesses. Economic losses, particularly those related to business income, were pegged at $126 million. Meanwhile, inventory losses were estimated at $95 million and direct employee wage (and productivity) losses were projected at more than $26 million. Other direct, as well as indirect, economic impacts were valued at $404 million. At the time this data was collected, respondents were already reporting job losses at about 8,800.

Nearly 120 businesses from the Janesville-Beloit MSA participated in the survey and their feedback mirrors (albeit scaled and proportional) what was reported statewide: $1 million in lost business income; inventory losses at $4 million; and other related negative impacts were estimated at $1 million. The number of job losses were already reported nearing the 250 level. “This type of initial quantitative data paints a bleak picture, and this is exactly why the County recently approved its COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Loan Fund,” said James Otterstein, Rock County’s Economic Development Manager.

“The conditions reported here represent companies’ efforts to adapt to changing conditions,” said Jeffrey Sachse, director of UWO’s Center for Customized Research and Services (CCRS). “These impacts are certain to rise when we revisit these companies in a month, two months and six months’ time. The assistance that these companies require and the effects felt throughout the state’s economy are both unprecedented and continuous.”

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said the report “reinforces a lot of what I’m hearing when I talk with businesses; and Our Wisconsin Ready effort will provide additional guidance and resources as we begin our state’s recovery efforts.” 

“Responding firms suggested that their greatest immediate needs are access to greater liquidity in the form of low-interest loans, grants and access to customers. This closely mimics trends reflected in the national policy debate and recent surveys reported by the Federal Reserve Board and Small Business Administration,” Sachse said. 

This statewide survey is the first in a series that will track the economic impacts of COVID-19. Responding companies will be surveyed again, during the next three months and likely into the foreseeable future, with results released during the third week of each month. Companies are invited to continue to respond to the initial survey at http://uwo.sh/covid-19-econ-disruption . For additional information about the survey and its results, including accessing interactive countywide and/or regional data reports, visit http://uwosh.edu/ccrs/covid-19-survey .

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17

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

The Ho-Chunk Nation’s casino and resort plan in Beloit took a major step forward Thursday, receiving federal approval and moving the project one step closer to a potential groundbreaking.

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10

(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

The Rock County Board has approved a $1 million emergency loan program to keep small businesses from closing permanently in the current struggling economy. The Rock County COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Loan Fund will lend up to $20,000 to a small business that is experiencing financial problems attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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10

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable Adams Publishing Group

With the increased demand for food and medical products during the COVID-19 pandemic, Charter NEX Films headquartered in Milton has been busy. The manufacturer makes specialty films for flexible food packaging, personal protective equipment and for other markets at its seven production facilities.

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10

(Janesville, WI) – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rock County Board of Supervisors recently approved a $1 million dollar emergency loan program. This fund, known as the Rock County COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Loan Fund (SBLF), is designed to assist small businesses in Rock County that are experiencing financial difficulties which are directly attributed to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The maximum loan amount available to an eligible applicant will be capped at $20,000; and the proceeds from that loan will be weighted toward small businesses that are seeking bridge and/or long-term, permanent working capital financing to help stabilize, sustain, strengthen or restart their operations. The online SBLF application portal is tentatively scheduled to open on April 24, 2020.

“We recognize the economic hardships that our small businesses, particularly those with fewer than 20 employees, are experiencing and we wanted to help”, said J. Russell Podzilini, Rock County Board of Supervisors Chair. An appointed seven-member Loan Fund Committee, consisting of four Board of Supervisors and three members of the public, will be in charge of the SBLF. Meanwhile, the County’s Planning, Economic and Community Development Department will manage the fund’s day-to-day operations.

While the SBLF is open to all for-profit, private-sector businesses that are considered in good standing and not operating as home-based businesses, funding will be prioritized for service producing businesses – particularly those that are independent (i.e. non-franchise) and businesses that support the hospitality and business services sectors, respectively. These loans will be structured as low-interest, working capital loans with terms that have an ability to extend up to 60-months. These specific details, as well as final loan making decisions, will be determined by the Loan Fund Committee.

County Administrator Josh Smith noted, “Economic recovery efforts are fueled by public / private partnerships, and this emergency small business fund reinforces the County’s commitment to keeping those partnerships active and functional.”

“This is another tool that our team can deploy to facilitate, as well as accelerate, economic repositioning and revitalization efforts throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA”, said James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager.

The SBLF will remain active until the funds are exhausted; and opportunities to leverage, solicit, receive and/or comingle non-County funding streams will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Additional SBLF information will be available online at this link in the coming weeks.

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