Sheltering-in-place has meant changes for all of us. As a community we are called to respond, examine where we can provide relief, and start thinking about the ways in which we want to rebuild.
For many small businesses across the country, the COVID pandemic has brought on a massive liquidity crisis as wholesale accounts, events, and retail sales were eliminated overnight. In response, small businesses are developing new products, sales channels, and marketing strategies to preserve revenue and keep employees. ICA is responding by providing programmatic and capital support that meets their needs at this time.
To that end, ICA Advisor Willis Wilson met virtually with a group of ICA entrepreneurs Wednesday to talk about specific business tactics for responding to the pandemic – stay connected to customers, offer special discounts, expand into new markets, redeploy staff, and more. The entrepreneurs soon took over the discussion to share their own business survival strategies and to learn from each other. This is the power of the ICA network.
We know that coaching and connections are only part of the solution. Our companies also need cash. Plain and simple. Small business owners face an urgent liquidity crisis and they need cash to buy time and bridge the gap until government relief funds come through. Companies in ICA’s network can apply for interest-free loans from our Rapid Response Liquidity Fund. The ICA team has been very hard at work to get that capital out, but demand is far surpassing the capital we’ve raised so far so we need your help! Please consider donating to this effort here.
ICA is helping small business owners reinvent their businesses so they can rebuild for strength and growth. Firebrand Bakery pivoted to curbside pick-up and sales of pantry items. Brundo moved to online sales of its spices and is hitting higher profitability targets Minnie Bell’s is doing pre-orders for next day pick-up. ICA is working closely with our businesses as they think through sales strategies, products, delivery systems and cash flow, with a goal to ensure long-term health and viability.
ICA’s entrepreneurs know that what you do/produce/sell is less important than why you do it. By focusing on the why – to provide jobs in our community, to bring their passion for cupcakes, or soul food or art preservation to their customers – these business owners are finding creative solutions to keep serving their communities and employing their workers.
You can help.
COVID-19 is exacerbating existing disparities in our communities and across the small business ecosystem. Those most vulnerable to the pandemic are the ones most affected by our systemic inequities. Frontline workers can’t work from home and small businesses can’t simply wait out the crisis. It’s time to rebuild a more inclusive, resilient, economy.
And with your help, we can. Your support helps ICA provide rapid relief and long-term support to local small businesses at every step of their journey.
Allison Kelly, CEO