(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
COVID-19 is having broad effects on the economy. And while the stock market is being closely watched as a nationwide barometer, small businesses are among those feeling the effects closest to home.
In response, a new COVID-19 small business forum launched Thursday by Baltimore-founded Startup Soiree is offering small businesses space for dialogue and resources amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Available at the Startup Soiree website, the forum has channels to share concerns in specific industries, and get access to resources and advice.
“This is a place to expound on your issues, to offer support and ideas to fellow business owners, to share resources, and most of all, to help each other come out of this on the other side with our businesses returning to form and prospering in the long run,” as Pixilated team members including cofounders Nic China and Patrick Rife, who cofounded the Startup Soiree community, wrote on the site.
With event cancellations pouring in as a result of coronavirus concerns, China and Rife are seeing a downturn on the events services side of the business at Pixilated, which offers photobooth rentals for events. (The company also builds photo booth software.) With experience gathering the community at events through Startup Soiree, they’re looking to create a digital place where founders can share best practices.
“The interest in booking community-based events where people gather together with one another is not very popular at the moment,” Rife said. “In light of that being what it is, we were looking for a way to keep conversation going while we are working on our business as best as possible, and not siloing information that should be shared and making it accessible.”
Sensing they are not alone in facing uncertainty, they quickly stood the forum so others could share tips and concerns, as well as find resources to help navigate new realities. With talk of new federal resources being provided through the U.S. Small Business Administration and other stimulus measures, they also want to create a place where folks can find help navigating potential assistance programs on a state-by-state basis.
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