Executive Director’s Corner: Brian Doudna, EDFP

Lean on Us! 

WEDA Executive Director Brian Doudna

During COVID-19 public health crisis, WEDA has been active in addressing challenges in the marketplace through our traditional programming, as well as our new value-added services to help provide our local membership with additional options and resources.  Of course, our programming and services for 2020 are continuously being modified to align with the current situation, but rest assured, WEDA continues to advance our workplan for 2020.

CRA Network

The Network is not hosting regional meetings this spring, but we continue to work with companies and communities seeking to advance their projects. For example, WEDA recently held a virtual meeting with lenders on a housing project that was seeking financing for a project launch in 2020. Another potential project in the CRA Network hopper is the relaunch of a closed plant that was shuttered prior to the pandemic. Project backers are now seeking financing to relaunch a new business at the site.  In short, the CRA Network continues to support WEDA members seeking to quickly receive consideration from financial institution on their projects.  Contact us today

SBA Debt Relief

On-demand short videos have been created (from an hourlong WEDA SBA debt relief webinar) to make it easier for WEDA members to share the most relevant information with businesses seeking or considering SBA financing.   Remember, the SBA will pay 6 months of P&I on loans closed before September 27. I would suggest applications should be submitted by early July to receive this benefit.

Wisconsin Economic Development Institute (WEDI) – Community Agency Survey and Assessment

WEDI has built a coalition of agencies ranging from a Federal Reserve Bank to Philanthropic Organizations and the WEDC to serve on a working group to analyze community agency needs pre-and post-COVID-19. The needs of low to moderate income, underserved and rural populations are being monitored by a variety of organizations and through numerous local and regional needs assessment tools. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to place even greater stress and need on community development organizations that serve low-to-moderate income, underserved and rural populations. The research provided by WEDI and the working group will consider best practices and how potential alignment of limited resources can have the greatest impacts and leverage investments.  The effort will consider housing, small business financing, health (childcare), employment, transportation, financial literacy and education and training.  Representing WEDI on this working group will be Todd Berry, who is the former president of the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

Economic Prosperity Planning for Wisconsin Tribes – Grant Received

In cooperation with the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance and Great Lakes Intertribal Council, WEDA will be creating custom curriculum for tribal nations that is designed after our IEDC certified ED 101 session for Wisconsin communities. This effort will incorporate WEDA, SBDC of Wisconsin and also Native Nations Institute/Harvard Project in a three-part series designed to advance best practices in tribal community development, tribal governance models and lean business model tools.  As of this newsletter, funding for this effort has been received by Bay Bank and WEDC.  Additional grant support is sought.

Community and Economic Development Awards

The CEDA Awards will open Nominations on June 1 and close on July 20th at Noon.  In this difficult year, we need to truly celebrate all the efforts across Wisconsin to grow and make our communities resilient. So… if you have a project, initiative or company worthy of community pride and recognition, do not be shy. Please submit them… This year, the awards ceremony will accommodate virtual options to enable more participants to be part of the event.