Entrepreneurial supports in the time of COVID
Presented by Alan Delmerico, Mauricio Canton Diaz and Susan McCartney, Buffalo State College
The Buffalo State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a crucial backbone support for local small businesses with a focus on MWBEs and is central to Buffalo State’s role as an Anchor institution in local economic development. As in all communities, the rise of COVID-19 has brought immense challenges that threaten the future of small business in our local Buffalo community as well as the livelihood of the owners and employees of these business. While the SBDC contributed with a broad group of entities to provide SBA loan supports early in the initial lockdown, their effort to help businesses during this massive disruption to the normal way of life have been many. In particular, the SBDC needed to reinvent many of their business supports in the time of COVID, adaptations necessary to help entrepreneurs and their businesses during unprecedented times. Topics for these new trainings and supports include: online presence and professional digital image development (especially immediate support like website updates for e-commerce and scheduling), retaining customers through remote interaction, help to food service and other businesses in interpreting and adapting process to new health and safety regulations, among others. Two case studies will be presented on how these supports and changes have manifested in local businesses with an interactive discussion to follow.