Champaign Economic Partnership Aids Businesses in COVID Recovery
Champaign Economic Partnership
The Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP), the economic development agency of Champaign County, has been supporting businesses in two ways to help them reopen and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the support of the Champaign County Board of Commissioners, the CEP has awarded a total of $54,265.15 to 24 small Champaign County businesses through the COVID-19 Champaign County Small Business Emergency Grant Fund. And the CEP is partnering with the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce to form the Champaign County Economic Recovery Task Force.
Small Business Emergency Grant Fund
The county commissioners authorized the CEP to develop the grant fund with a portion of local tax dollars generated for economic development through conveyance fees collected on Champaign County real estate sales.
The grant committee received 24 applications, approving all of them, to help the businesses reopen and recover from losses in the pandemic, and to help boost the local economy.
“We are very thankful to the commissioners for funding this important initiative,” Kyle Hall, president of the CEP Board of Trustees, said. “The COVID-19 grant fund will help small businesses bridge the gap in revenue during the shutdown and help them meet safety requirements for reopening, so that consumers will return to them with confidence.”
In addition to receiving grants, the 24 businesses will receive 12 months of free marketing through ChampaignWorks.com, an online job board and news site supported by the CEP.
The businesses are being encouraged to repay their grants, when able, to the Champaign County Small Business Grant Fund, for future use in supporting economic sustainability in the county, CEP Director Marcia Bailey said.
Here are a few of the comments grant recipients sent via Facebook and email:
- “What an amazing experience to be a recipient! So glad to live and work in Champaign county!”
- “Thank you all so much!! Great community to be a part of!!
- “So unbelievably thankful to be in a community that supports others when in need.”
- “Please pass on my gratitude to the Champaign County Commissioners board for allowing me to receive an emergency grant for my business. Being a shop in Urbana for almost 13 years has been such a privilege and joy.”
Economic Recovery Task Force
The task force, which is being formed to unite the community in helping the local economy rebound from the pandemic, is composed of Chamber and CEP board members and other community leaders, representing retail, restaurants, manufacturing, education, agriculture, banking, and city, village and county government.
Task force subcommittees will focus on Fundraising, Personal Protective Equipment, Marketing, Training and Support, and the decision of Franklin University to close its branch campus, Urbana University, at the end of the academic year due to the pandemic.
The Training and Support Task Force is developing online webinars to share industry-specific regulations and best practices to help restaurants and food service, retail, manufacturing, beauty and barber shops, and health and fitness businesses operate safely.
.“We want people to have confidence that they are safe when they visit and shop or dine at Champaign County businesses,” CEP Director Marcia Bailey said. “Our local businesses are taking every precaution and are looking forward to having their businesses reopened and serving their customers.”
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