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  • Cathy O’Connor

Small businesses, nonprofits helped through program

A few weeks ago, I shared stories about how The Study, Swiss Cleaners and ReMerge responded to COVID-19 with creativity and used funding and technical assistance from the Small Business Continuity Program to help meet some of the challenges brought on by the pandemic. There are hundreds of similar success stories – small businesses and nonprofits that have changed, dramatically or ever so slightly, to better communicate, reach out, encourage sales and preserve their business.

DentalWorks by Dr. Edwina V. Johnson received a grant from the Small Business Continuity Program to purchase protective equipment that allowed the business to continue seeing patients. Through the technical assistance program, the dental practice worked with a marketing company to create a new website that better told prospective patients about its services and accepted electronic forms, finally replacing the time-consuming paper system. The dental practice also received social media training to help its staff post more frequently and share content that was more likely to be noticed.

Onyx Lane is a full-service music production company for film, sound installations, live performances, and album recordings. The business owners received technical assistance to create a new brand, logo and website that accelerated their music production and artistic planning business.

Hyson’s Classic Burgers also used the technical assistance grant program to rebrand with a new website and photography. This investment will help the business to expand to future locations and showcase its delicious, classic-style burgers.

Independent Transportation Network is an Oklahoma City nonprofit that gives senior adults low-cost rides. The organization added services during COVID to pair seniors who aren’t comfortable making online transactions with volunteers who ordered grocery or other essential home deliveries for the seniors. ITN used technical assistance to create a new website, promote their new services and call for volunteers and contributions to help seniors stay healthy, active and connected.

A record number of small businesses closed permanently, and an even higher percentage of minority-owned businesses were impacted by COVID. I’m proud of how Oklahoma City recognized the importance of preserving these sectors and responded quickly. The Small Business Continuity Program and technical assistance program were authorized by the city of Oklahoma City with CARES Act funding and the programs were administered by The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

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