The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to the business community. But at the same time, this global health crisis has resulted in countywide collaboration among economic development and emergency response teams to harness countless economic resources and present it all in one virtual location.
Volusia County’s Economic Development division is leading the effort, serving as the coordinator between cities and agencies, as the clearinghouse of information, and by creating a new website — VolusiaBusinessResources.com — to serve as a countywide source of assistance and incentive program information for businesses.
”The effort is a cross-collaboration of our economic development stakeholders, initially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to assist our businesses owners in maintaining operations and preparing for when they can start up again,” said Rick Karl, director of Volusia County’s Department of Aviation and Economic Resources. “But the County Council and other partners are committed to providing support for this site long-term, to serve businesses as the main resources for everything pertaining to retention and expansion recovery.”
The website will include all federal, state, regional, county and private-sector resources and provide direct links to Volusia County’s cities’ resources pages.
“The microsite is a wonderful idea,” said Kent Sharples, president of the CEO Business Alliance. “Our entire world was turned upside down a couple of months ago. We now have to redefine the way in which we do business and foster growth. This collaboration with our economic development partners is an outstanding opportunity to assist businesses as we move forward.”
The economic recovery collaboration effort began with weekly conference calls with the 16 municipal economic development professionals, coordinated by Helga van Eckert, Volusia County’s new Economic Development director. During these calls, the economic development practitioners discussed common business concerns and best practices to assist local businesses. Eckert found one frustration expressed by many local businesses was that the rush of data–much repetitive, some inaccurate—was confusing and time-consuming to sort through.
“Team Volusia is pleased to have collaborated on this effort.” said Team Volusia’s President and CEO Keith Norden. “Information on federal, state, regional, county and local resources and programs can be overwhelming and the need for a collaborative, countywide business resiliency initiative was clear.”
Partners with the VolusiaBusinessResources.com initiative include:
- CEO Alliance:The Alliance will sponsor half of the cost associated with designing the website.
- Team Volusia Economic Development Corporation (Team Volusia): Team Volusia has retained the services of a website developer to assist in designing the site. Additionally, Team Volusia is collaborating with area chambers of commerce on resource information.
- Cities: City partners will provide insight on the design of the website and each city will have a link back to the city’s resource website.
- CareerSource FV: CareerSource FV will match companies that are hiring with companies that are temporarily laying off personnel, in addition to providing other resources.
- Small Business Development Center (SBDC): SBDC will provide consulting services, videos and webinars on completing loan applications.
- SCORE: SCORE will perform the administrative duties of connecting advisors with businesses that require further assistance.
“This is just one of many steps being taken to assist our local business community with today’s immediate needs through the challenges of tomorrow’s recovery,” said George Recktenwald, county manager for Volusia County Government. “The goal is to keep Volusia County businesses informed of the most up to date information about all recovery programs, but in a way that makes it easy to navigate. This is probably one of the most stressful times most of us have lived through, but we are all in this together and we’ll get through it together. I believe we will come out of this a much stronger community.”
For more information, contact Helga van Eckert at 386- 248-8048 ext. 7, or email
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