Business Retention and Expansion: Thriving Through COVID-19 and Beyond
Montgomery County, Ohio
COVID-19 has spawned concern for the health of communities and anxiety for the future of local businesses. Amidst the uncertainty, area organizations look to economic development leaders.
Here are five ways we’ve learned to activate commitment to the business community in these trying times:
- Keep a Pulse on Your Companies
Proactively sparking conversation with businesses in your community showcases your dedication to keeping them in business.
During COVID-19, our five-county initiative BusinessFirst! reached out to local businesses rather than waiting for them to call us. Our team connected them with 100+ community resource partners in our professional network.
- Understand the Difference Between Surviving and Thriving
Most company leaders have everyday concerns keeping them awake at night. Insert a global pandemic into the mix, and new challenges emerge.
When speaking with local business leaders on how you can offer support, help them determine how to shift operations through active listening. Don’t miss the chance to pinpoint system gaps magnified by the crisis and connect them to resources that will make old processes flow differently, or be replaced by new offerings.
- Minimize Information Overload
Throughout COVID-19, most brands have shared their stance on the pandemic. These messages have filled our inboxes, leaving no room for content we actually need.
Montgomery County Economic Development searched for opportunities to share information without overwhelming local businesses. By combining our communications throughout COVID-19, we have ensured companies receive necessary resources from one location so they efficiently keep doing business.
- Personalize Virtual Opportunities
Zoom, Skype, and Google Meetings are thriving during the pandemic because they provide a sense of connection from any location. Our team has used these channels along with other personalized tools.
Personalizing virtual meetings makes a world of difference to businesses. From phone calls, tailored informational emails and online business forums, efforts in Centerville touched approximately 100 companies. We made regular updates to the community website and social media, with answers to frequently asked questions as well as local restaurants open for carryout.
- Celebrate Local Achievements
“Recognize all major stakeholders including the business, resource partners that support your BR&E program and frontline Economic Development Professionals.”
– Laith Wardi, ExecutivePulse
Local governments and businesses have been on the job to support our neighbors, including:
- The REOPEN Downtown Dayton Grant —a collaborative effort between Reopen Dayton, CareSource Foundation, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Dayton Partnership—provided $700,000 in immediate relief for locally owned restaurants, retailers and other personal service businesses.
- The City of Kettering granted three-year, zero interest micro-loans for retail and service businesses with 25 employees or less.
- The City of Springboro and Springboro Chamber of Commerce organized an emergency stimulus program, sharing up to $5,000 in gift card purchases for locally-owned businesses.
COVID-19 has brought our community together in ways we couldn’t fathom six months ago—even after 2019’s tornadoes. Looking ahead, let’s remain realistic and remember where we can add value to local business partners. Connection, collaboration and innovation build a strong bridge to the future.
The Clinton County Port Authority is marking National Economic Development Week from May 9-15, 2021, to celebrate the contributions of positive economic development and discuss the role of the profession in the local community.read more
A research and arts project to document how eastern Ohio has been shaped by changes in the coal industry was awarded a $35,000 grant from the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State. The Ohio Coal Transition: Pathways for Community Resilience is a partnership between The Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, OSU Extension, University Libraries, and the departments of Theatre, Geography and Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering.read more
Much more than just “drug houses”; State grants to fund commercial building demolition would propel county land banks as key drivers of Ohio’s economic development
In late April 2021, a legislative committee in the Ohio House held its second hearing to consider creating a $100 million grant program, exclusively for county land banks, to fund commercial building demolition. Ohio’s land bank statutes are recognized as a national model, uniquely providing an opt-in for county commissioners to direct tax collections to fund their county land banks’ activities. That revenue model, coupled with allocations from the state’s Hardest Hit Fund (specifically, the sun-setting Neighborhood Initiative Program), allowed land banks to grow in number during the past decade and thrive in addressing so-called nonproductive land in their communities.read more