Kristin Smith
Kristin Smith started Wrigley Tap Room & Eatery

Here are the week’s key headlines.

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Why The Pandemic May Play Out Differently In The Heartland

For the past 20 years, the struggling towns and cities of the Midwest have been a symbol of economic decline and American’s uneven prosperity. Now, some speculate lower population densities and a different economy may spare the region from the worst.

Senate Passes $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package; House Vote Expected Tomorrow

The 880-page legislation includes direct payments to individuals, bolstered unemployment insurance, loans and grants to businesses and more health care resources for hospitals, states and municipalities. The bill is expected to pass tomorrow.

Singapore Plans $33.2 Billion Coronavirus Relief Package

This is only the second time the country has tapped its reserves—the last time was the global financial crisis. The package will aid households and businesses. 

The U.S. Stimulus Package Is Said To Include Aid For The Self-Employed

There are 57 million Americans who do independent work. Unemployment was extended to them in the stimulus package, according to Axios. The unprecedented expansion of benefits came after calls for help from Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, among others.

Coronavirus Epidemic Could Give Long-Awaited Jolt To Telehealth

Long slowed by regulatory barriers, telehealth—now in hot demand–may become the new normal after the crisis. The Trump administration has lifted key barriers, such as rules that limited payments for telehealth visits. 

Fintech Firms Lobby For Role In Sending Relief Funds To Small Businesses, Saying Government Can’t Move Quickly Enough

Tech firms say they already have the systems in place to deliver needed cash rapidly.

UAE and Oman Lift Ban on Zoom and Similar Apps Amid Corona Crisis

Oman’s telecom authority has lifted the ban on Zoom, Google Business and Skype for Meeting, while Etislat, one of two mobile operators in the UAE, has enabled Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Blackboard and Cloud Talk.

Crunch The Coronavirus Data For Yourself

Tableau puts Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 data into dashboard, Tableau data set, Google sheet and CVS formats so you can do your own analysis.

Meet The Pandemic: A 4-Year Old Virtual Incubator Confronting Infectious Disease Threats

Austin-based Pandemic Tech is focused on how the private sector and innovation community can work together to prevent pandemics, instead of relying only on government.

Helping Women Grab The Mic

Many brilliant woman leaders still aren’t getting heard, to the extent that meeting planners have a name for what happens when they’re voiceless – those “manel” discussions that turn many conferences into an echo chamber. London-based Ginger Public Speaking aims to change that and help women leaders achieve their full potential by stepping up to the podium. Now it’s coming to the U.S.

Small Business Resource Guide

Y Combinator Launches A Central Hub For COVID-19

25 YC bio and healthcare companies are helping with the COVID-19 crisis. They are seeking additional talent, introductions to hospitals and experts, and capital. A dozen investment firms have collectively pledged to invest $30 million  in companies pursing COVID-19 program; YC is connecting companies to investors. YC is also fast-tracking COVID-19 startups.

COVID-19 Resources For Freelancers and Small Business Owners

Freshbooks has put together this extensive listing of programs in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Republic of Ireland to help the self-employed get through the sudden economic slowdown.

Finding And Creating Gig Opportunities Now

The Local Media Consortium partners with freelance platform Moonlighting on this free community video chat on Friday, March 27, at 2 pm ET to help freelancers, part-time gig workers and independent workers quickly find work and create opportunities during the COVID-19 work environment. (Meet your newsletter editor, Elaine Pofeldt, on the panel).

Facebook Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to support up to 30,000 small businesses in more than 30 countries. 

Gift Certificates to Support Entrepreneurs

Kabbage payments is enabling any business to sign up to sell gift certificates online. Gift certificates are essentially a form of customer financing, where customers pay you in advance for your services. 

OpenTable has a gift card marketplace

Invest Atlanta

The city has just opened a $1.5 million emergency fund for small businesses, offering zero-interest loans to businesses that lack working capital and cash flow.

Louisiana Economic Development

This page publishes a list of business assistance resources for firms in the state affected by the coronavirus. Look for other states to add these, especially as the SBA designates more areas where businesses are eligible for loans. (

The List

The Freelancers Union has put together this list of resources for freelancers who’ve lost business due to COVID-19. 

[Know of any resources that will help other small business owners? Please submit them to Elaine Pofeldt at]

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Win $100,000 to grow your startup.

Are you an early-stage, high-growth startup with a scalable business model? If so, Render Competition wants to support your innovation. 

Apply today for a chance to be one of the winning startups who receive $100,000, a free coworking membership, pro bono services and much more. Winners must relocate to Greater Louisville, KY, for at least one year (and will receive lots of relocation support in doing so).

Application deadline: May 1st, 2020

Learn more here. 

Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program

Location: Africa

Application deadline: March 31, 2020

Open to entrepreneurs across Africa, this program focuses on entrepreneurs with startup ideas or existing businesses less than three years old, offering a holistic program of intensive support. 

Young Entrepreneur Convention

Location: Ames, Ohio

April 4, 2020

Information available here.

TechStars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator

Location: Birmingham, Ala.

Application deadline: April 5, 2020

Information available here.

This 13-week program in Birmingham, Ala., provides mentoring to startups creating innovative electrical and utility solutions. 

The theme is “founders helping founders” at this one-day event, aimed at business owners in their teens and twenties, at Iowa State University.

MIT Solve

Location: Cambridge, Mass.

Deadline: June 18, 2020

Information available here.

MIT Solve, a marketplace for social innovation, has launched a health security and pandemics challenge in response to coronavirus. It is looking for teams around the world working on innovations to address pandemics and plans to give winners access to $1.5 million in funding. 

Private Financing Advisory Network

The network is soliciting applications from businesses that deliver climate change adaptation or clean energy innovation to their communities. 

Deadline: Rolling

Information available here. 

– Compiled by Elaine Pofeldt

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This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit and connect with and