Upon the announcement of the COVID-19 guidelines that were set for Virginia, the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance responded immediately. The Alliance serves as the regional chamber of commerce and economic development organization for the Lynchburg, VA region, including the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) comprised of the City of Lynchburg and Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell counties.
The Regional COVID-19 Business Support Task Force is made up of leaders from each locality, local economic development directors, the Downtown Lynchburg Association, the Central Virginia Workforce Development Board, and the Small Business Development Center. This group is tasked with coordinating support and resources for businesses in the Lynchburg Region.
“The Regional COVID-19 Business Support Task Force has begun meeting twice a week to brainstorm ideas, curate resources, share information, and unify their efforts as they address business, employer, and community concerns,” said Alliance CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer Megan Lucas.
Additionally, after the first wave of restrictions was announced last week, the Alliance organized a webinar with leadership from the local healthcare system, the Virginia Employment Commission, a regional member of the Governor’s Economic Council, and the regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director to provide critical and timely updates. The call also allowed for a Q&A session from members and the public. The webinar was so popular, it has been developed into a weekly series called “Wednesdays@One”. The next session will feature all administrators from local government, and Mark Herring, Virginia’s Attorney General to provide timely updates on governmental modifications as a result of COVID-19.
“It’s essential we get timely and accurate information out to our businesses in the region who are doing everything they can to maintain operations and survive in this time,” stated Lucas.
The Alliance has also created several programs to help its small business partners, such as Takeout Blitz LYH – an online campaign that encouraged citizens to safely support restaurants with takeout orders and promote them via social media channels. Another program created was Local Bingo LYH. This program provided an online gameboard that encouraged patrons to leave reviews for businesses online, purchase gift cards for future use, or online shop with local retailers.
The Alliance is also working with the local manufacturing community in partnership with the State of Virginia and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to provide reassurance and advocate for all manufacturers that can remain operational. These manufacturers produce the goods that America needs to stay healthy, both physically and economically, and recover from this crisis. The Alliance provided a copy of NAM’s survey to help identify manufacturers in the region that may be able to help with the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare providers. Several reached out immediately with their capabilities and offered their services.
“The Alliance and its community partners are taking a proactive approach to provide small and large businesses, nonprofits, and local governments with access to critical information, links to financial resources, and the support they need during this time to come out stronger together,” said Lucas.
Submitted by the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance.
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