In 2020, the Wisconsin Small Business Development (SBDC) Network at the University of Wisconsin-Superior helped clients impacted by COVID-19 receive $4.1 million in federal aid and $168,000 in state aid. Overall, the center served 728 clients, resulting in $5.3 million in capital investment, 16 new businesses, 905 jobs supported, and 1,100 business education participants.

For these reasons, SBDC Day will take on extra significance in 2021. The fifth annual celebration of the collective impact and success of Small Business Development Centers across the nation is today.

“The resiliency of businesses to navigate everything that occurred in 2020 is something that many of us will never forget,” said Andy Donahue, director of the SBDC at UW-Superior. “We are proud to work with such fantastic resource partners and community stakeholders to support entrepreneurs in Northwest Wisconsin. A lot of work remains to assist businesses in navigating back to pre-pandemic levels, but can be done based on the partnerships within our communities.”

Working collaboratively with the Wisconsin district office of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was key in helping businesses understand how to apply for federal CARES Act loans -- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans and EIDL Advance. The same held true at the state level for the popular We’re All In grants from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), plus other financial measures and safety guidance. 

Overall last year, the SBDC served 7,870 clients, resulting in $107.5 million in capital investment, 256 new businesses and 26,275 jobs supported. For COVID-19 relief, the network helped clients receive $21.1 million in federal aid and $7.7 million in state aid. 

“Because our 13 centers were positioned to be accessible to anyone anywhere, we served as a go-to source for assistance in a disaster when conditions were changing by the day,” said Bon Wikenheiser, state director. “Shoring up small businesses was and still is critical to our state and local economies. The resilience and creativity of Wisconsin’s business owners should be a source of pride as we continue to live with an adjusted reality.” 

Small businesses, partners and advocates are invited to use the hashtag #SBDCDay in social media posts leading up to and especially on March 17.