City of Cleveland Announces New Grants for Restaurants and Retail Businesses; Submit Your Application Now


The City of Cleveland announced that as part of Mayor Frank Jackson’s ReStart CLE plan, the Department of Economic Development has established an Emergency Working Capital Program to assist specially impacted businesses. The Emergency Working Capital Program – Specially Impacted Businesses will provide a loan of up to $20,000 to reimburse for operating costs incurred for the months of March onward. The program is open to restaurants, personal care businesses, and storefront retail establishments. Up to 50% of the low interest loans ($10,000) is forgivable for costs associated with the purchase of personal protective equipment. 

Click here to learn more and access the application for this opportunity. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are depleted. Businesses eligible for the Emergency Working Capital Program should apply as soon as possible. 

The Department of Economic Development also announced the Winter Restaurant Operations Support Grant program, which is designed to help provide restaurants with resources to offer safe outdoor dining experiences through the winter. The program will allocate $500,000 (up to $5,000 per business) in grant assistance to local restaurants to help support winter operations through purchases and rental of equipment like heaters or fire pits and other fixtures. 

Click here to learn more and access the application. Applications for the Winter Restaurant Operations Support Grant program will be accepted up to November 30, 2020.

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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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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Continuing to Support Small Businesses During COVID

    3 Things to Know: Continuing to Support Small Businesses During COVID

    We are several months into the pandemic and while people are becoming more mobile, many businesses—especially small businesses—are still struggling. Here are three steps you can take to help support and promote your favorite local businesses and small business owners.


    Toward the earlier days of COVID-19 people made a concerted effort to try to help out local restaurants by getting takeout, having food delivered and leaving big tips. Now we are several months in and people are becoming more mobile and frequenting more businesses. But it’s still important to focus your effort and your dollars on small businesses. Here’s how.

    First Thing to Know: You are an Influencer
    You may not be a social media influencer in the strongest sense of the word (or anywhere close, according to the teen/tween in your household), but you can bet that the followers you do have are paying attention. So when you have a good meal, experience excellent service, get a good deal or are enjoying a quality product from a local small business, let people know. Facebook it, tweet about it, make a TikTok dance about it—whatever moves you. It’s an easy thing to do but your family, friends, neighbors and other followers will take note and you’ll be doing those small businesses a big service. Along those same lines, if you choose to go old-school and leave a review via email or snail mail, that works too!

    RELATED: How Ya’ Doing? A COVID Check-In

    Second Thing to Know: The Holidays are Coming!
    Make your list and check it twice. It might only be the first few days of fall, but the winter holidays will be here before we know it—start planning now. What are some gifts on your holiday shopping list for your loved ones that you can purchase from a small business instead of a big box store? Don’t forget to consider memberships to local museums or entertainment venues, gift cards to local restaurants, or a personalized gift from a local shop.

    RELATED: Mid and Post-COVID Digital Marketing Strategies for Local Businesses

    Third Thing to Know: Scheduling a Service is a Win-Win
    Your family is home more often and your house is probably not as clean as it is under normal circumstances—a house-cleaner can help with that. Your kids are learning virtually and you are afraid they will fall behind—a tutor can help with that. As you’re trying to manage these unusual circumstances and wearing several different hats, you’re falling behind on tasks like yard-work, grocery shopping, cooking and myriad household projects. Scheduling a service from a local provider can help with all of these things and so much more. It’s truly a win-win situation for both you (and your family and your home) and local service providers who may be struggling right now. 

    RELATED: Read More from our 3 Things to Know Series

    Let us know some of your favorite small business experiences on twitter.

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