First, let’s start with a recap of all the ways COSE is helping your business grow and succeed.
1. COSE’s new health benefit option
On September 1, COSE launched a new health benefit option for small business, the COSE Health and Wellness Trust. This new self-insured health benefits plan gives our members access to preferred rates based on their health experience. So far, COSE has added more than 500 small business groups to the plan and it continues to grow each month, as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act and a preferred opportunity for our members with good health experience.
2. Job posting resource for small businesses
A new partnership with CareerBoard will give COSE members access to preferred pricing to post the job opportunities that exist within your company. In addition to preferred pricing, members will have access to Careerboard’s team who can provide expert guidance to ensure your postings are designed to attract the best candidates. You can link to COSE’s job portal here.
3. Unique pricing on consumer brands
Another new partnership with viperks will bring small business owners and their employees special pricing on a large variety of consumer brands, electronics and other purchases. Each COSE member will receive a customized platform with your company logo, brand and other employee specific news and information. This benefit can also be used as a tool for employee rewards and recognition. For more information, visit www.cose.org/viperks.
4. Payroll savings benefit
Late in 2016, COSE entered into a partnership with Compass Payroll providing 15% off the costs of payroll and providing a personalized assistance to support the new ways in which payroll can advance your business.
5. Small business internship program
In December, COSE finished a pilot of a small business internship program conducted in conjunction with Youth Opportunities Unlimited and Cuyahoga County Council. A total of 22 students completed projects for 19 small employers focused on social media, sales and market research. This represents COSE’s first foray into a customized small business approach to internships and its success leads us to believe we have an opportunity to do more to provide this kind of support to our members.
6. YMCA wellness resource
COSE is finalizing an agreement with the YMCA to create a new wellness resource for small business owners and their employees. The cost of this program is eligible for funding through grants available through the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. This program is still being finalized and more information will be provided over the next few weeks.
7. Energy benefits for your home and business
A new energy audit and rate reduction program has been created for our members in conjunction with FirstEnergy and the Public Utilities Commission, allowing for free audits for small business owners. The program also supports a national grant from the Department of Energy we received to increase access for small business owners to information and resources to support energy efficiency.
In addition, we implemented a new Small Business Residential Electricity savings program for business owners and their employees. Contact COSE’s Energy Team at 216-592-2205 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
8. Advocating for the needs of small business
Representing the voice of small business is a very important part of our work. In 2016, we continued to see success with our advocacy efforts working closely with the GCP on three important ballot issues to continue support for the transformation of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District; to avoid an onerous proposed increase to Cleveland’s minimum wage; and to handle the push towards the legalization of marijuana with as much support as possible for rules and approaches that do the least harm to the business community.
And our work within the GCP to support the success of the Republican National Convention resulted in a terrific showcase for Cleveland and the region. Regardless of your politics, there is no dispute that our work together to put the region in the national spotlight was helpful to the perception of the community we do business in.
9. A reimagined platform for small business growth resources
Last week, to coincide with the COSE Annual Meeting, COSE rolled out its new digital content portal, Mind Your Business. This resource gives us the ability to share more information with increased frequency about the best ways for you to grow your small business. It also allows us to publish more of your stories, ideas and expertise. Check out this new resource for small business owners at www.cose.org/myb.
10. Business growth through education
We supported the graduation of additional small business owners and leaders through our work with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. And COSE’s flagship Strategic Planning Course graduated another 20 small business owners as the course completed its 37th year of providing the region’s most successful platform for rethinking and reshaping a small business.
11. Member involvement
Last year at this time, we shared with you some of the work we were doing with the GCP to increase the ability of small business owners to be involved and engaged in the GCP’s work. During the past year, we have completed that effort and have actively engaged more than 100 small business owners in the key committees and initiatives of the GCP.
And now, let’s take a closer look at some of the priorities for 2017.
12. Partnership with the National Small Business Association
With a new federal administration, we will be working closely with our partners at the National Small Business Association (NSBA) to ensure the needs of the small business community are being considered in the work of the new administration. The federal picture gets a little more interesting every day and we are actively working with NSBA and other stakeholders to monitor federal action on health care, taxation and regulation.
13. Working together with the GCP
GCP has kicked off a strategic planning effort to look ahead at the work of the business community and the region to continue to support growth and investment. COSE leaders and members will work closely with the GCP as the organization develops its strategy in support of the business community for the next several years. Our small business owners are well positioned to be very involved in helping to set those priorities and to ensure the voice of the small business owner is well represented.
14. New resources for members
Continuing to bring forward new resources for our members will also be a commitment in 2017. For example, we are in the early stages of creating a new benefit for you to protect against cyber fraud and identity theft and we are looking at options that could exist in the area of business insurance, as well. We also have plans to increase the access you have to the ability to easily meet and connect with each other.
COSE was proud to also recognize board, staff and volunteer contributions.
15. Board recognition
COSE Chairman Michael Stanek praised the dedicated service of the small business owners who serve as the Directors of COSE’s Board. These leaders provide counsel, support and guidance for the work of COSE on behalf of our members. He specifically recognized Arlene Watson of Mobius Grey for her service to the COSE Board. Arlene’s six-year term ended in December, and Stanek recognized her creativity, passion and willingness to ask the right questions that have made her an asset to COSE.
New Board members were announced at the meeting and included:
- Brian Alquist, 1Direction, Inc.
- Stacy Bauer, BauerGriffith, LLC
- Tim Dimoff, SACS Consulting
- John Doyle, FASTSIGNS Downtown Cleveland
- Tim Opsitnick, Jurrinov
- Damon Piatek, Welke Customs Brokers
- Vince Salvino, CodeRed
- Tony Weber, Goldfarb Weber Creative Media
- Keith Williams, Good Karma Broadcasting
- Mireille Wozniak-Michalak, Petiole HR
- Patty Zinn, Micro Systems Management
16. 2016 Volunteer Service Award and volunteer recognition
The 2016 Volunteer Service Award was presented to Nevin Bansal of Outreach Promotional Solutions. Stanek credited his high level of engagement, passion and leadership within COSE.
In addition, Stanek recognized more than forty members that served the organization on four specific volunteer leadership teams in support of COSE’s mission and priorities. These included the COSE Expert Network, COSE Ambassadors, The COSE Small Business Convention/ BizConCLE and the COSE Small Business Internship program. Each of the participating members was recognized for their work on these teams.
17. COSE Staff Service Award
And last but not least, COSE staff member Gina Messina was honored for her 30-year tenure and commitment to COSE and her support of the organization’s small business mission.