06 Apr In COVID-19 Crisis, SBDC Lends a Hand to Wisconsin’s Small Businesses
“The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has called on the Small Business Development Center networks throughout the country to really be their boots on the ground in local areas for all the information that’s coming out regarding the legislation that provides assistance,” says Michelle Somes-Booher, director of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “We have been asked to sort of become the voice for all of these programs.”
As a center under the auspices of the SBA, Somes-Booher and her team are at the frontlines of the economic turmoil wrought by COVID-19 and a lifeline for Wisconsin’s small businesses.
Governor Evers also requested a federal major disaster declaration on March 31, 2020, for the state of Wisconsin, which unlocks different forms of loans and available assistance that Somes-Booher and her team are helping business owners to navigate.
Pre-pandemic, the center had already built a reputation and a foundation of success. Housed in Grainger Hall at the Wisconsin School of Business, the SBDC focused on assisting small businesses—defined as those with fewer than 500 employees—through programs, one-on-one consultations, and non-credit courses. In 2019 alone, the center worked with 450 consulting clients who started 33 new businesses and secured more than $11.75 million in capital.