FRI AM News: Minority chambers call for help to increase access to business aid; “WisBusiness: The Podcast” with Rashi Khosla, MARS Solutions Group

— Latino Chamber of Commerce and Black Chamber of Commerce leaders are calling for more volunteers and government help to make sure Latino- and Black-owned businesses have access to economic assistance and know how to safely open their businesses. 

Latino chamber President Jessica Cavazos and Black chamber President Camille Carter said one of the biggest problems businesses faced during the COVID-19 pandemic was a lack of education on how to take advantage of government assistance programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and small business loans.

According to a Green Bay Press Gazette review of PPP loans given to Wisconsin businesses, of the 17 percent that did report race, over 92 percent were given to businesses owned by white people, 2.45 percent to Hispanic people and 0.93 percent to Black people. 

The duo told a Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce briefing that many of their members don’t get the same attention from banks because they don’t usually have strong relationships. Many of those banks were experiencing their own staffing issues related to the pandemic, forcing many Black and Latino business owners to turn to the chamber offices for support.

While both leaders said their offices have been working around the clock and engaging as many volunteers as possible, the huge influx of calls and requests for help inundated their small amount of resources. 

“This whole wrench that was thrown at us was a test of our resiliency and how we’re going to operate,” said Cavazos. “It was like a 24-hour war room here at the chamber.” 

Read the full story at 

— This week’s “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Rashi Khosla, founder and CEO of MARS Solutions Group based in Waukesha. The company focuses on connecting human talent to companies, training talent for businesses, and utilizing AI and technology to help employers retain employees. 

The COVID-19 pandemic influenced the world to become more virtual, and since that started, Khosla has seen an increase in demand for technology support. Her business had a 40 percent growth in April.  

Most of MARS’ clients, largely in the technology sector, have proven that their employees can work virtually. She noted that a reason for growth is that MARS is dissolving the work-from-home boundary. 

“We are able to attract a lot of workers who are not physically able to move here, but can help with our clients and get to experience Wisconsin from that perspective,” Khosla said. 

The company announced a new program this week, MARS Returnship, meant to help women looking to restart their careers in technology following a gap in employment — an often overlooked segment of human capital. 

MARS Returnship works with partner companies to customize a program design for a highly-trained and cost-effective talent pipeline. The program provides on-the-job training, mentorship and a partnership approach to prepare cohort members to successfully rejoin the workforce.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping women return to the technology workforce and we’ve designed an effective on-ramp program to ensure success,” Khosla said. “Our exceptional graduates and partner companies enjoy a customized experience to meet the unique technical and interpersonal needs of all involved.”

The first cohort begins on Sept. 1, and MARS Returnship is currently accepting applications through Aug. 10. 

Cohort and partner company applicants can submit online at:

Listen to the podcast, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— DATCP encourages farmers who have faced financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to take advantage of $8.4 million available through the Wisconsin Farm Support Program.

Gov. Tony Evers announced the program in May. It provided a total of $50 million in direct payments to support Wisconsin farmers who have been impacted by COVID-19. The first round of the program in June resulted in $41.6 million distributed to nearly 12,000 farmers in 71 Wisconsin counties. 

Applications will reopen from Aug. 10-24. 

Producers of any commodity are eligible to apply if they had gross income between $10,000 and $5 million in 2019, and they did not already receive a payment in the first round of the program.

Payments are expected to be issued by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue in mid-September. The specific amount producers will receive will be determined once the application period closes. 

To apply Aug. 10 visit:

To see a distribution map of the first round of payments visit:!/vizhome/FarmSupport/Map

— The UW System will receive more than $32 million in financial assistance from the state as it prepares for in-person instruction. 

This comes in addition to the $18.9 million Gov. Tony Evers allocated earlier from Wisconsin’s portion of the CARES Act and the $95.6 million that UW System schools received directly through the CARES Act. 

This round of assistance is also funded through Wisconsin’s piece of the CARES Act. The UW System will receive $24 million toward its COVID-19 plan, helping campuses to test symptomatic students, those who have had close contact with symptomatic students and students living in residence halls. 

“As campuses across the UW System prepare to have students return to campus, it is critically important that every campus has the resources it needs to help keep our students safe,” Evers said. “The COVID-19 pandemic brings great uncertainty and having robust testing efforts is one of the most important tools we have to help box in this virus and make sure our students stay healthy and safe.”

The funding will help purchase 276,000 tests, 246,000 of which will be allocated to campuses and 30,000 of which will be held in reserve by the UW System for peaks or shortfalls. The funding will also help cover personal protective equipment and staff for administering tests.

“Gov. Evers’ commitment to providing the resources for strong testing measures throughout the UW System will help us safely reopen our campuses this fall for students, faculty, staff, and our university communities,” UW System President Tommy Thompson said.

UW-Madison, which previously announced its COVID-19 testing plan, will receive $8.3 million for testing, equipment, staff and PPE. The state support will help UW-Madison purchase 134,000 tests.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement that robust COVID-19 testing, surveillance and contact tracing is the most effective way to keep people safe. 

“We deeply appreciate this allocation of funding from Gov. Evers to help make our testing program as successful as possible,” Blank said. “We know our community will make use of this important service, in addition to taking other key steps like wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distance, along with changes to our buildings and classrooms.”

— DHS reports 839 new COVID-19 cases after receiving a total of 17,706 tests, bringing the percentage of positive tests per total tests down to 4.7 percent. 

Health officials have stressed that below 5 percent is where the state needs to be. The percentage of cumulative positive tests per total tests the state has collected since the start of the pandemic is 5.67 percent, according to DHS’ figures. 

The seven-day average of daily confirmed cases is 810, down from 842. 

The new cases bring the cumulative case count to 57,779. “Active” cases make up for 16.6 percent of the state’s total confirmed cases, while 81.8 percent of the state’s cases are deemed “recovered,” according to DHS. 

Meanwhile, 1.7 percent of patients have died and patients have an 8.4 percent chance of being hospitalized.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— DHS also reports eight new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s death toll to 978.

Milwaukee and St. Croix counties each reported two new COVID-19 deaths. Marathon, Outagamie, Sheboygan and Walworth counties each reported one more.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (452), Racine (78), Kenosha (58), Waukesha (57), Brown (52), Dane (37), Rock (26), Washington (22), Walworth (22), Winnebago (18), Ozaukee (17), Waupaca (15), Grant (14), Outagamie (14), Sheboygan (9), Clark (7), Marathon (8), Fond du Lac (6), Dodge (5), Jefferson (5), Eau Claire (4), Forest (4), Richland (4) and St. Croix (4). 

Barron, Door, Marinette and Sauk counties report three deaths each. Adams, Buffalo, Calumet, Kewaunee, Monroe, Polk, and Trempealeau counties report two deaths each.

Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Columbia, Green, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marquette, Rusk and Wood counties report one death each.


# Urban League of Greater Madison allocates $5,000,000 to increase black homeownership 

# UW grad students, labor groups demand online learning, improved COVID policies

# What COVID Looks Like In A Rural Northwoods County



– Average U.S. farmland values unchanged 

– Steven Schauer joins DBA and Edge as communications specialist 

– USDA Extends Deadlines, Defers Interest Accrual Due to COVID-19 


– Investing, supporting innovation key to recovering Milwaukee area’s economy, experts say 


– 47 GOP members send letter to WI supts., pressing for in-person instruction

– Colleges brace for surge in Covid-19 costs as a big cash cow is upended  


– Fiserv Inc. providing $10M, technology to minority-owned businesses impacted by Covid-19 


– Facing supply shortages, Advocate Aurora scaling back COVID-19 testing 

– Southeast Wisconsin health care systems returning to pre-pandemic staffing levels 


– ‘This Is A Sea Change’: Federal Judge Hears Arguments In Pandemic Voting Case 


– Noteholders object to Briggs & Stratton bankruptcy plan 

– Manitowoc Company appoints Aaron Ravenscroft as new CEO 

– Rockwell’s Contreras advocates for many in new leadership role 


– Microsoft expands TikTok takeover ambitions to entire global business 


Baldwin Pushes to Protect Local Products from Unfair Trade Tactics

– Republicans push Kanye 2020. But will it really hurt Biden?

– Judge won’t take swing-state status into account in election case

– Madison likely won’t see election result delays, long lines for August primary


– Gorman advancing two redevelopment projects of former Milwaukee school buildings 

– $6.5M project to upgrade Tiefenthaler Park for Kellogg foundation youth programs 


– As mask mandate warnings are issued, some restaurant safety plans approved in Milwaukee 


– Businesses begin to launch from incubator in Sherman Park 


– Johnson Controls acquires remaining stake in Qolsys 


– Aftermath: DNC halts stage setup in Milwaukee, ‘dozens’ of guests predicted 

– Disposable kitchen utensils and rental cars. How Marcus Corp. helped the St. Louis Cardinals self isolate at The Pfister 


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

– AFB: Seeks applicants for National Ag in the Classroom Conference scholarships

– Marquette University: French professor receives Way Klingler Fellowship Award for the humanities

– Wisconsin’s Green Fire Expert Panel: Shares a vision for wolves in Wisconsin 

– UW-Madison: Chancellor Blank statement on funding for campus COVID-19 testing 

– UW System: Testing program includes more than 350,000 tests