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Posted on March 3rd, 2021 in Economic & Business Development
Heather Strohm

~ by Heather Strohm, Regional Extension Educator, Community Development – Purdue University

The Pandemic has required instrumental and pivotal business adjustments in the economic landscape of companies. Traditional norms have been abandoned for unknown operational starships that navigate the intricate cyber web of meetings and strategic models once designed for the future. Now these revolutionary practices are used and many are developing a “build as we go” mindset for daily operations. As Covid-19 has established a profound impact on our world culture, it has also afforded companies the opportunity to transform their cultures and operations into one matrix. Outperforming and maneuvering competition with swift market actions. The Brookings Institute recently reported through its Indiana GPS Project (www.indianagpsproject.com) that Indiana had the ninth strongest employment recovery in the nation. Yet, its growth is regionally disparate, pointing to a lack of resources in some areas more than others.

One way for individual companies, as well as economic growth regions, to overcome that is to explore new resources. One of those resources that you might not be aware of is Local Initiatives Support Corporation, LISC (https://www.lisc.org/indianapolis/). LISC’s mission is to “bridge the gap” between organizations with capital and those with funding needs. Originally, LISC served more urban areas, but now there’s even a specific Rural LISC initiative (https://www.lisc.org/rural/).

In any given year, LISC partners with more than 200 distinct organizational partners including more than 30 community-based organizations. Bringing together local leaders from financial institutions, government, funders, nonprofits, and neighborhoods is important to lasting change. To find out how you can get a grant, loan or equity investment from LISC, contact their Indianapolis office for more information: https://www.lisc.org/indianapolis/who-we-are/our-team/.While millions of employees and companies have been and are continuing to be impacted by the Pandemic, a survival instinct is inevitable for true entrepreneurs. How can my company use this Pandemic as a chance to make a mark on the local economy? How do I rebrand myself? What service or product is not being filled that my company can help with? How do I keep my employees while continuing to expand my operational footprint? The Pandemic established a new standard of virtual meetings and telecommuting. How might your company develop a policy to support and empower employees/staff to balance or effectively leverage these resources to increase market share and operational efficiency/effectiveness?

Another resource that can help businesses directly address some of the above concerns is the PPP Loan, supported by the Small Business Administration (SBA), which offers a forgivable award of up to 1.5 times your monthly payroll expenses to qualifying entities to help small businesses and nonprofits retain employees through the Pandemic. The second round of those loans was announced in mid-January and is still currently open and accepting applications. For more information, see the SBA’s website at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program. Typically, the way to access these funds is to inquire with your home banking institution.

As you reflect on your company, the culture and operations, consider how you might leverage tools, resources and perhaps your talented staff to gain the necessary leverage to provide a healthy pandemic pivot for your business.