Bright spots of 2020
Before we discard 2020 and move forward, I want to highlight some economic development bright spots for our city and some lessons worth carrying forward.
The Oklahoma City Council and Oklahoma County commissioners responded to COVID-19 using CARES Act funding to stabilize jobs, knowing that most people in central Oklahoma are employed by small businesses. The Small Business Continuity Program, Minority Owned Business Recovery Program, Urban Renewal Authority Small Business Grant Program and the Oklahoma County Small Business and Nonprofit Grants provided $57.75 million to help small businesses and nonprofits meet basic expenses and maintain payroll during the pandemic. We heard from many businesses that the emergency relief helped sustain their business and avoid layoffs.
Businesses responded to COVID-19 with innovation, adapting how they provided goods and services and even changing their manufacturing focus, to protect and help others. Early in the pandemic, Prairie Wolf Spirits pivoted from distilling vodka to making hand sanitizer and Baker Hughes created protective equipment and ventilator parts to help Oklahoma hospitals.