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Partnership News and Views: Economic Development Week: It’s here!

Created by the International Economic Development Council in 2016, the goal of Economic Development Week (EDW) is to increase awareness for local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities and increase the quality of life in communities everywhere. Economic Development Week includes activities in communities large and small designed to highlight the importance of economic development and the good work that economic developers do every day.

For those of us in economic development, this is typically a great week to celebrate our profession, share our value proposition, launch new programs or highlight successes. Best laid plans right? Well, lets just say we didn’t exactly count on a global pandemic with everyone required to stay at home when we created our plan. So we will improvise somewhat.

Currently, we are spending most of our time working with local businesses, being trained on new programs and policies, and developing tools that will assist businesses and organizations get through this difficult time. On our website, marquette.org, we have added an entire section of resources and information for business as they respond to the impact of the pandemic. We have designed several checklists and toolkits including:

≤ Crisis checklist: reviewing businesses’ cash flow

≤ Hibernation Toolkit: strategic planning to know when to pause if the business needs it

≤ Resiliency Toolkit: includes tools for creating a more resilient business, allowing it to recover quicker

≤ Reopen Preparedness: includes action items to help businesses start working towards reopening

Most recently, we launched a Business Restart Toolkit to assist in the planning and implementation of reopening. Last week we highlighted this toolkit on a webinar that included subject matter experts, Laura Katers Reilly, Kendricks, Bordeau, Keefe, Seavoy & Larsen, P.C. Attorney on unemployment law, Dr. Jennifer Dehlin, MD, Singletrack Health on health and hygiene, Ruth Solinski, Ruth A. Solinski Consulting LLC speaking on human resources and John Bennett, Bennett Media Group President/Creative Director on marketing and promotion. The webinar included a question and answer portion that allowed attendees to ask questions in hopes of making the transition easier.

This week we had also planned to celebrate the launch of a new program to support local purchasing. While we will still launch the program, and believe it is extremely important to our businesses, the announcement will need to be virtual instead of a live press conference and Business After Hours celebration. Stay tuned for more information on how you can help support our local businesses as they pivot to reopening again.

Again, I want to remind you that our staff is here to assist businesses and organizations, whether you are an LCSP Investor or not. During these difficult economic times, business retention is more critical than ever. Let me leave you with a few thoughts:

≤ Don’t go it alone. There is a dynamic support system here to serve you including the LSCP, your BAIL team (banker, accountant, insurance provider, lawyer) and peers that are in the same boat.

≤ Take advantage of the resources on our website at marquette.org/covid-19/.

≤ If you are an eligible LSCP Investor, you also receive benefits from the Small Business Association of Michigan. Use them.

≤As a consumer, remember how important our locally owned businesses are to the community. Now is the time to show them just how important they are.

≤ Know that we will get through this difficult time, together.

≤ Stay healthy. Stay safe.

As Mr. Rogers’ mother said, “look for the helpers, you will always find people that are helping”. Open your eyes to all the good that is happening during these dark times. Yooper Strong!

Editor’s NOTE: Amy Clickner is CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.

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