Written by Vicki Resech
On March 1, 2020, I took “interim” off my title and became MCDEVCO’s Executive Director. Just a few short weeks later, the world turned upside down, and with it the description of a leader began evolving. A leader is someone who inspires others to work through change both together and individually, who builds trust, and who guides others through tough times. If I ever wanted to find out what I was made of as a leader — now is the time.
Please take note of the many resources and services that MCDEVCO offers to support small businesses, entrepreneurs, municipalities, and others in Marathon County through tough times now and into the future. As always, MCDEVCO remains focused on delivering on our core mission — economic development throughout Marathon County.
Operating under a Safer at Home order is creating a very trying time for businesses throughout Marathon County. At MCDEVCO, we are working daily to assist our small businesses with questions on loans, grants, and the different federal programs that are available to them.
As we look to the future, there will be even more questions and help that will be required to reopen our businesses and rehire employees. As Executive Director, I have reached out to our volunteer mentors to assist MCDEVCO in fielding questions now and in the next few months. Together, MCDEVCO and these volunteer business professionals have a unique opportunity to give someone else a hand up through mentoring.
Loan and grant opportunities available for businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Paycheck Protection Program, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation are listed on our website (www.mcdevco.org), along with guidelines.
MCDEVCO is currently in conversations with the City of Wausau about applying for Community Development Block Grant funds as part of the Housing and Urban Development portion of the last Federal Government bill. We are working at MCDEVCO to be able to have disaster funds (loans and grants) available for small businesses throughout Marathon County. MCDEVCO will be collaborating with all financial institutions throughout Marathon County where applicable.
We know that there are a lot of questions and concerns at this time. We will continue to update all those on our email list as new information becomes available.
Monthly Municipalities Meetings
MCDEVCO now coordinates monthly meetings open to municipalities across Marathon County. A new strategic plan focusing on countywide collaboration has been developed to update the municipalities agreement from 2014 to ensure that it was still relevant.
Weekly municipalities meetings via Zoom have been implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. At each meeting, Marathon County Health Officer Joan Theurer updates the group and assists with implementation of safety guidelines.
The Village of Rothschild brought to the group an emergency agreement for the providing of workforce staffing collaboration throughout Marathon County. This agreement is significant, as all municipalities can be a part of this solution. Voting and the safety of our residents and poll workers was a concern as each municipality implemented policies and procedures for voting. As warmer weather arrives, concerns about parks and recreation, garage sales, boating, and dog parks have been discussed and plans have been made.
New businesses and those relocating to Marathon County are an essential part of MCDEVCO’s updated strategic plan also. We are committed to working with municipalities as a source of GAP financing, awareness, and resources.
Providing GAP financing for businesses throughout Marathon County is as important now as it was 43 years ago, when MCDEVCO was created to enhance our local economic development. MCDEVCO uses revolving loan funds to provide GAP financing for:
- New small businesses
- Existing small businesses that are expanding
- Investment financing of larger projects that will support significant community/economic development
- Projects that create and retain jobs (to include low to moderate income individuals)
- Improvement of underserved and/or distressed areas
- Development of community services
Access to capital to start new businesses, purchase inventory, or cover operational costs — or access to capital to expand an existing business — is one of the top challenges that small businesses face. GAP financing from MCDEVCO can fill that need between what a small business owner can borrow, their down payment, and the total project cost, and in doing so, help build strong communities for Marathon County.
Our local businesses help to stimulate the economy by providing community involvement and identity, customer relationships, tax base, and local jobs; by stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation, and competition; and by requiring less infrastructure, promoting diversity, and investing in locally made products.
GEARS Co-working Idea Center
Entrepreneur development at MCDEVCO includes our GEARS Co-working Idea Center, classes/workshops, and 35 business mentors. At the GEARS Center, to be an entrepreneur and/or small business owner only requires that you have a laptop and determination.
Choose from daily drop-in, monthly, semi-annual, or annual memberships to MCDEVCO’s Idea Center. Each includes all utilities, internet, copies, mail, and coffee.
Call us for a tour of our Idea Center and a cup of coffee after the Safer at Home order expires!
Classes & Workshops
Our classes and workshops are created and taught specifically for MCDEVCO by our 35 business mentors. Classes address:
- Business plan development
- LEAN business practices
- Financial presentations
- Human resources
- Marketing and advertising
- …and more.
New for 2020 is our GEARS certificate program for entrepreneurs and small business owners. There are 10 entrepreneurial classes, a financial panel/discussion night, and our Dolphin Tank presentations from the students. The program series will begin September 7, 2020, and finish January 11, 2021. Registration will be open shortly.
Women Mentoring Women Entrepreneurs
MCDEVCO is proud of its programming designed just for women – Women Mentoring Women Entrepreneurs. This program fills the GAP for women entrepreneurs so they can succeed in business.
POWTS Loan Program
MCDEVCO has collaborated with Marathon County’s Conservation, Planning, and Zoning Department to create a Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (POWTS) Loan Program to provide eligible property owners with a low-interest loan to be used to offset a portion of the costs of replacing a failing septic system. The program began January 1, 2020, and to date, we have had 5 loan application inquiries.
* * *
Each of us at this time can hone our individual leadership skills to assist our families, friends, and coworkers — especially the essential workers.
- Take the time to step up and encourage those around you; deliver a sense of teamwork and collaboration as we work remotely.
- Help people help themselves.
- Motivate and inspire our children, as they have lost their center of gravity and their familiar worlds.
- Be kind and respectful to one another, as we will get through this together.
Personally, I cannot wait for a hug, handshake, and the laughter of friends again.
Please know that we at MCDEVCO are working hard for you.
We will coordinate efforts as the State looks to reopen through Badger Bounce Back and locally —
Ready. Let’s Grow!
Executive Director | MCDEVCO, Inc.
Vicki has always been driven to help others succeed. As the Executive Director of MCDEVCO, her goals reflect the mission and strategic plan of the organization — GAP financing available throughout Marathon County, entrepreneur development and education, municipalities, and businesses having the resources they require to succeed into the future. Blue jeans with holes in the knees and a pair of worn cowboy boots are her favorite attire to be spotted in alongside one of her beautiful horses. In her spare time, Vicki enjoys spending time with family, horseback riding, hiking, gardening, photography, and camping. Email Vicki Resech.
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