Article by: Zach Bubany
CEDA is very involved with its communities and business owners, especially during this COVID-19 crisis. Here are just a couple of recent examples to illustrate ways that our team is working hard to serve small communities and businesses virtually:
Emily Legel, a Community and Business Development Specialist at CEDA, is just one of many examples of how CEDA and its members are doing everything possible to assist communities and businesses during this challenging time. Legel serves Northwest Illinois Economic Development. She is helping communities and businesses through a virtual outreach initiative that includes virtual “coffee breaks” and webinars. These resources allow business owners to receive the latest updates and information on various subjects, some of which include but are not limited to: financial assistance programs, local funding tools, and changing guidelines on the COVID-19 crisis. Legel’s work is ensuring that communities and businesses have tools to plan and implement necessary actions to keep business operations running as smoothly as possible during this pandemic.
Mary Kennedy, CEDA’s Director of Training and Professional Development, is also a prime example of CEDA’s commitment to its businesses. Kennedy sent out a survey to as many businesses as she could in Blue Earth, MN to better understand the economic impacts of COVID-19 and how her community could best take effective action. “We just wanted to get a feeling for how they were doing and if they needed assistance” Kennedy said. Some questions on the survey included, but were not limited to: [What are] the top factors that have impacted your operations?, and do you feel that you have access to information you need regarding programs from the federal and state government? From the responses, Kennedy learned that she should focus on helping businesses combat the effects of COVID-19 through grant writing, loan applications, strategic planning, and more.
Many other CEDA members took Kennedy’s survey and used it in their own communities to get a feel of their businesses’ status and needs.