We are working hard to support our southwest Minnesota businesses and know there is a lot of information being shared about state and federal funds. Please note that Southwest Initiative Foundation is NOT a Paycheck Protection Program lender.
Watch out for fraudulent activity! Please be cautious when opening emails, files and sharing any personal information online.
- If you receive a message from one of our Southwest Initiative Foundation staff that you’re not expecting, proceed with caution.
- If you are working with a member of our staff and receive a suspicious message, do not open it and delete it immediately. Our staff will include their contact information and signature line in their correspondence to you. If you’re unsure about a message, contact our staff before opening attachments, sharing personal information or forwarding/responding the message.
As you seek assistance for your business or employees, please be sure to confirm you are accessing a credible source or contact. We are aware that at least one business was contacted by a firm using our name that does not represent us. Southwest Initiative Foundation is NOT working with any private consulting firms or other businesses to solicit customers, submit applications, or underwrite loans on behalf of Southwest Initiative Foundation. If any of your businesses get a call or email from a third party saying they are working with Southwest Initiative Foundation for a disaster finance program, they should hang up or delete the email, and not share any information. Then please contact us to report the incident.
Stay Safe Messaging for Businesses
DEED has designed several images to encouraging wearing masks to keep businesses open. The files below are available for businesses to download and use.
Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants
The Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program approved by the Minnesota Legislature and signed by Governor Tim Walz on June 16 will begin accepting applications to support business impacted by COVID-19. The application period will begin on Tuesday, June 23 and close at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 to fulfill the 10-day period required by the law.
- A randomized, computer-generated lottery process will be used to select eligible businesses that will receive awards.
- Southwest Initiative Foundation will engage with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for grant funds in southwest Minnesota, which can be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar business expenses.
- To be eligible, businesses must have a permanent physical location in Minnesota and be majority owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota.
- Businesses must be able to demonstrate hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Additional eligibility requirements and application information can be found online at DEED’s Small Business Relief Grants page. Please share this widely with southwest Minnesota businesses and encourage them to apply!
Contact Scott Marquardt at 320-583-4629 with questions about southwest Minnesota businesses accessing the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grant program.
Guidance on Safely Reopening Minnesota Businesses
Minnesota DEED has created industry-specific guidance for businesses to aide in reopening. Find the guides on the DEED website
There are videos available in English, Spanish, Somali and Karen languages that highlight the main safety guidelines restaurants must follow as they open to the public. We partnered with the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Worthington Chamber of Commerce and Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce to create these video resources.
COVID-19 Business Preparedness Plan Templates
Business preparedness plans will help businesses re-open while keeping employees and customers safe. Find downloadable business preparedness plan templates and other resources from the Minnesota Dept. of Labor.
Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants
The Department of Human Services, Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and Child Care Aware of Minnesota are working together to distribute funds appropriated by the Minnesota Legislature. Find details at Child Care Aware.
Info from SBA, Partners and Sister Agencies
Southwest Initiative Foundation continues to share additional resources as they become available. Please note this is not an all-inclusive list.
- Minnesota Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Business Toolkit
- Minnesota DEED COVID-19 webpage with Minnesota specific information to help small businesses
- Minnesota Unemployment InsuranceCOVID-19 information for self-employed people and independent contractors
- SBA Resource Partners no-cost, one-on-one business counseling regarding COVID-19
- SBA Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 resources
- WomenVenture COVID-19 Update Hub
Federal Program Info
- For information on all federal programs, visit www.usa.gov/coronavirus or https://www.usa.gov/espanol/coronavirus (en Español).
- The IRS has established a web page to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.
- The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus, including use of Family Medical Leave
- New guidance outlines flexibility states have in administering their unemployment insurance programs to help Americans affected by coronavirus.