Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief Plan Includes Key GCP Priorities


50 centrist lawmakers, part of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, unveiled a $1.5 trillion plan in response to stalled negotiations over COVID-19 aid. The plan, called the “March to Common Ground” COVID stimulus framework, was designed to address the areas of testing, unemployment insurance, direct stimulus, worker and liability protection, small business and non-profit support, food security, schools and child care, housing, election support, and state and local aid. According to a press release, “the framework is designed for a six month horizon and through the next inauguration, except for state and local funding which extends for a full year.”

Several key GCP priorities are included in the framework, including:

  • $240 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans that have flexible use and simplified forgiveness processes - Including $11 billion for CDFIs and $17 billion for small and community banks
  • $15 billion for flexible and immediate support for childcare providers and $100 billion for virtual, hybrid, and in-person K-12 schooling
  • $12 billion for broadband hot spots in underserved communities
  • Protections for businesses which follow enhanced OSHA guidelines

Beyond these priorities, GCP advocated for a PPP set-aside for entities employing 10 or fewer employees, expanded eligibility for PPP, funding for E-Rate support to enhance the digital classroom, and a monthly benefit for broadband services for households and businesses that meet certain eligibility criteria (which could bolster resources for broadband adoption in Cleveland). In addition, GCP and our region believe providing a long-term or permanent extension of the New Markets Tax Credit program should be included in any future relief/stimulus package. Increasing this program’s allocations to accelerate economic recovery is critical.

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  • Next up: GCP Board Member, Cheryl Perez, and Joe Roman Call on Ohio to Fix Unemployment System

    GCP Board Member, Cheryl Perez, and Joe Roman Call on Ohio to Fix Unemployment System


    GCP Board Member and Founder and President of BIG-HR Cheryl Perez co-authored an opinion piece with GCP CEO and President Joe Roman about the need for reform of Ohio’s unemployment system. The pair remind readers that while Ohio’s economy has been relatively strong as of late, it is important to remember the lessons of the last economic recession.

    That recession—in which the state’s unemployment rate rose to 11%--illustrated just how ill-prepared Ohio was to cover the costs of the unemployment system. When the federal government stepped in to provide a loan to Ohio to continue covering unemployment benefits, employers were left with paying for the bulk of the balance from that debt.

    Perez and Roman call out the need for long-term solutions that lead the unemployment fund toward solvency, writing, “Now is a good time to learn from our past and fix Ohio’s unemployment system.”

    You can read the full opinion article here. To learn more about GCP’s commitment to reforming our state’s unemployment system, view our Public Policy Agenda.

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  • Next up: Congrats to the 2020 Best of Tech Winners

    Congrats to the 2020 Best of Tech Winners


    More than 200 tech fans gathered yesterday for the first-ever virtual GCP Best of Tech Awards, which featured great music, fun conversation, lots of celebration and a virtual photo booth! 

    “It is extremely important to acknowledge, lift up, and promote the work that these companies and individuals are doing,” Megan Kim, GCP’s senior vice president of membership development and marketing and executive director of COSE, said in her opening remarks, “because it promotes our region and our industry to the next generation of tech professionals as a thriving place to live and work.”

    In case you missed it, the 2020 award winners are: 

    Most Promising Startup: Augment Therapy 
    Best Support of the Tech Community: CWRU LaunchNet
    IT Educator of the Year: Kenneth Atchinson, Baldwin Wallace University
    Best Tech Services Company: Binary Defense
    Best Technology Solution, Product or Device – In House: Cleveland Metroparks
    Best Technology Solution, Product or Device – Commercial: Everykey
    Tech Team of the Year: Avient's Tech Team
    Tech Company of the Year – Large Company: Foundation Software
    Tech Company of the Year – Small Company: Binary Defense and Metisentry (tie)

    NEO CIO Forum Leadership Award winners:

    • Amy Brady, KeyCorp
    • Bill Blausey, Eaton Corporation
    • John King, Lubrizol Corporation
    • John Kish, Medical Mutual
    • Brenda Kirk, KeyCorp

    In addition, recipients of the RITE Teacher Rewards Program, CoolTech Challenge and the NEO CIO Forum Leadership Awards were honored. 

    Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! 

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  • Next up: Congratulations to GCP Member Sharon Toerek as Outgoing Chair of NSBA

    Congratulations to GCP Member Sharon Toerek as Outgoing Chair of NSBA


    Last week, National Small Business Association (NSBA) leadership gathered for its quarterly Board of Trustees meeting and then convened its Annual Member Meeting, where the 2019 Chair, Greater Cleveland Parntership (GCP) member Sharon Toerek, passed the gavel to incoming 2020 Chair Mark Amato of Rhode Island. Sharon, a principal attorney at Toerek Law, previously served as Chair of the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), and will serve as Immediate Past Chair of the NSBA Board in 2020.

    Several GCP members serve on the NSBA Board, including Michael Canty of Alloy Bellow & Precision Welding, Kevin Johnson of NexGen Interactiveand Mike Stanek of Hunt Imaging. In 2020, Mike Stanek will serve as Treasurer of the Board and Michael Canty will serve as Vice Chair of Communications.

    The NSBA is a non-partisan organization that advocates on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs with membership from every state and every industry in the country. Our partners at NSBA offer GCP/COSE small business members an additional access point to meet with members of Congress and their staff and drive federal public policy issues that are of most importance to the small business community. 

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  • Next up: Congressman Dave Joyce Joins GCP Members for a Morning Conversation

    Congressman Dave Joyce Joins GCP Members for a Morning Conversation


    Last Friday, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) joined GCP members for a Morning Conversation—a series generously supported by PNC Bank. As a lifelong Ohioan, Congressman Joyce represents the 14th District of Ohio, which includes eastern Cuyahoga County and all of Ashtabula, Lake, and Geauga Counties. Prior to being elected to Congress, he served as the Geauga County Prosecutor and assisted in numerous counties throughout Ohio as a special prosecutor.

    Now, as a Congressman in his fourth term in office, he serves on the House Committee on Appropriations and as Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment. Congressman Joyce has long been an advocate for bipartisan efforts to preserve and protect and Great Lakes, and most recently introduced the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 in the House. In his conversation with GCP members, the Congressman covered everything from the Great Lakes to trade to workforce development.

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  • Next up: Connecting With Holiday Shoppers: 10 Takeaways

    Connecting With Holiday Shoppers: 10 Takeaways

    If your business doesn’t have a plan in place to take advantage of eager holiday shoppers, don’t waste one more second—read this workshop recap now and learn how to connect with holiday shoppers.


    ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. Is your small business positioned to receive its share of the $1 trillion predicted for 2019 holiday spending? Cleveland’s Hispanic Business Center’s Cole Worley presented a workshop on how to do just that at COSE’s Small Business Resource Fair in October.

    Here are 10 takeaways from the presentation to get your holiday sales soaring.

    1. There’s still time. While ideally you’d start putting together your holiday strategic plan in September, 51% of holiday shopping occurs in November and December so there is still plenty of opportunity to be had.
    2. Black Friday isn’t everything. Buyers are looking for deals all season long so be sure to give thought to the discounts, sales and other opportunities you can offer over the next several weeks.
    3. Last-minute sales are key. Come up with a plan to draw in those procrastinators as the holidays near. Make sure to offer the option to purchase gift cards online—especially from their mobile devices. Convenience is important here.
    4. Free shipping is a must. Research shows that 80% of all online orders include free shipping. Consider free upgrades to faster shipping options toward the end of the season.
    5. Spark a sense of urgency. With Thanksgiving being at the end of the month, there is one less week for holiday shopping this year. Tell your audience this and encourage them to act now.
    6. Focus on list building. As a small business, one of the only things you have control over is your website and your contact list. Emails and retargeting advertisements are cheap ways to connect with your audience. They have to know you, like you and trust you before they buy something—it takes time and effort to build their trust but it’s worth it.
    7. Make the holidays a special time. Create holiday gift guides and new holiday pages to boost search engine optimization. Use holiday keywords and phrases such as “holiday buying guides.”
    8. Leverage social. Create exclusive offers for your social followers to make them feel special. They’ll appreciate the extra value they receive just by keeping up with you on social platforms.
    9. Plan for increased customer service. Expectations are high during this time of year; make sure you can engage and respond to customer service needs quickly on your website, via text and on social.
    10. Ensure optimal performance. Speaking of higher expectations, you have two seconds or less to make an impression on your web and social sites. Load times need to be fast or potential customers will move on quickly.

    Don’t forget to support Small Business Saturday on November 30. Stay tuned for more information on opportunities from COSE on how you can show your support. And if you are a small business owner with a special offer for Small Business Saturday, please contact Allison Halco. You could be featured in our social media posts or in an upcoming issue of Mind Your Business.

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