Colu CARES about you and your city

The past few months have been demanding for cities across the country. With forced lockdowns, businesses will continue to struggle with the economic impact COVID-19 has created. At Colu, our mission is to help cities as they recover from the effects of COVID-19 while simultaneously shifting our focus to better assist minority and black-owned businesses.

Our first launch in the US is in Akron, OH, which has a variety of  businesses that are struggling due to road construction, this unexpected pandemic and, more recently, protests that have caused citywide road-closures. While working with Akron these past couple of months, we saw the impact of directing our focus and attention on helping cities and small businesses transition safely to the new normal. We have been able to personally meet small business owners and learn how they have been affected and how we could move forward in supporting them as best as we can.

“At the height of the pandemic in Northeast Ohio… we were seeing businesses have to close their doors all around us, and there was so much concern about, you know, what can we do to help these businesses,” noted Heather Rosycyk, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advocate for Akron, in an article discussing our research launch in Akron. The app Akronite, created to help businesses and improve civic engagement, is intended to help improve the struggling Main Street of Akron and to further support Black and Minority-owned businesses that have faced unprecedented challenges.

While the CARES Act has provided small businesses some cushioning for the ongoing impact of COVID-19, it still has strict regulations on what it can and can not be used for. Here are some unique ways that cities have used the CARES funding to help small businesses: 

  1. Orlando, FL. The City of Orlando is now offering free parking to any residents who shop at local businesses in the downtown area to encourage people to support these struggling businesses. 
  2. Clovis, CA. The City of Clovis has created a website to allow residents easy access to purchasing electronic gift cards to businesses in the area. This website, Caring for Clovis, will allow businesses to generate an immediate income while simultaneously motivating residents to shop at their local mom-and-pop shops.
  3. Atlantic City, NJ. The Chelsea Economic Development Corporation in Atlantic City has implemented a month long Empanada cooking contest to help boost local businesses while also showcasing the area’s diversity. 

Colu has always been an advocate for finding unique initiatives to the current issues facing small businesses and local governments, and we see the importance of these programs now more than ever. COVID-19 has resulted in unprecedented circumstances for communities worldwide and we fully understand the importance of saving the businesses that make your community so unique. Moving forward into our new normal, we hope to help cities across the country find out-of-the-box solutions to motivate their communities and to support local businesses.

August 6th, 2020