Three Economic Development Organizations Collaborate
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2022
Contact: Mark Geise
(716) 661-8902 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Chautauqua County, NY: — Three local economic development organizations collaborated on a program to assist 35 Chautauqua County small businesses in their efforts to rebound in the wake of the pandemic. Each organization contributed their areas of expertise for one common objective.
The pandemic presented unprecedented challenges, and local business owners have had to adapt to succeed. This includes methods to communicate with customers in new and innovate ways. In their effort to continue supporting small businesses and not-for-profits, Chautauqua County committed a portion of their ARPA funding ($400,000) to directly assist businesses with the challenges associated with retaining current customers and attracting new ones. The “Marketing Assistance to Businesses and Not-for-Profits” project, which was identified as one of the priority projects recommended in County Resolution 202-21, was approved by the legislature at its October 27, 2021 meeting.
The County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA), Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce (CCCC), and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Jamestown Community College (JCC), partnered to offer grant funding to small businesses of 50 employees or less to help them with their marketing efforts. Assistance was made available to help businesses develop and employ new marketing ideas and methods for attracting customers and retaining employees.
“The rationale for funding this new program was based on the premise that if businesses do better, the county benefits as a whole,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and CCIDA CEO. “The pandemic posed many challenges to small businesses, and local business owners have had evolve. It was evident that those businesses that were able to pivot during the pandemic, in terms of offering services in a different way, were able to not only survive, but in some instances thrive. Helping businesses to evolve and expand their marketing reach will certainly increase foot traffic and boost their sales.”
When faced with hardships, small businesses often focus resources on what they need to do to remain in operation for the short term. Even though marketing is an essential operating expense,in many cases it is one of the first things to be reduced before such essential expenses as insurance, payroll, rent, and taxes.
Julie Rockcastle, a spokesperson for one of the grant recipients, The Heron Farm and Event Center, stated, “With the marketing grant we were awarded, we were able to hire a great new local marketing director. The response to our new branding has been very encouraging! We believe it will translate to more reservations and ticket sales for us and increased tourism within the county. We appreciate the support very much!”
Small businesses with 50 employees or less had the opportunity to receive up to $10,000 in marketing funds to implement marketing upgrades. Eligible expenses included branding; copy right/trade marketing; printed or digital signage; social media; print, TV, and social media advertising; website development; e-commerce; printed brochures and flyers; marketing software expenses; and other marketing-related activities. Funds were allocated to those who met the program requirements on a first come first served basis.
Courtney L. Curatolo, Ph.D., Director, SBDC at JCC stated, “While marketing is a critical aspect for any business, it tends to be pushed off to the side due to limited time and resources. The ARPA funds have enabled these businesses the freedom to be creative in an effort to promote their businesses in unique and diverse ways. The businesses that were awarded the funds have already seen an impact, and my hope is to secure more funding for this program.”
The response to this program was overwhelming, and unfortunately the program could not assist all of the businesses that expressed a need. That being said, the County, CCIDA, SBDC, and CCCC are exploring other sources of funding to assist those businesses that could not take advantage of this program.
“One positive from the last few years is a renewed focus on shopping and supporting local,” said Daniel Heitzenrater, CCCC President & CEO. “These grants will help small local businesses market their products while connecting them with support organizations like the Chamber, SBDC and CCIDA. We also encouraged recipients to use local vendors and companies as much as possible so the funds may have a double impact by supporting local marketing related businesses,” stated Heitzenrater.
About the CCIDA
The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the State of New York to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live, visit, and conduct business. The organization facilitates development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives – tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing – enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention for our businesses. For more information, visit www.ccida.com.