As we anticipate the influx of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds into Oklahoma City, we are developing new programs to help businesses and individuals with additional COVID recovery services. The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City is working with the city of Oklahoma City and community partners to plan programs that will direct relief funds to businesses and individuals in ways that provide for families, help businesses access capital and other resources needed for growth, train people for in-demand jobs and otherwise impact our local economy. Our goal is to begin rolling out those programs before year-end.
One of the programs will be continued from the Small Business Continuity Programs that we developed in 2020. The technical assistance program connects pre-qualified local subject-matter experts and consultants with small Oklahoma City businesses to provide key services and expertise that small businesses report they need. The service provider is paid through the program and the small business receives much needed support in accessing capital, human resources, legal advice, marketing, e-commerce and more.
The Alliance for Economic Development has an open request for quotes, or RFQ, on our website for these service providers. Some examples of the types of service businesses include those with expertise in financial and accounting, human resources, legal, marketing and e-commerce. We’re especially interested in minority-owned service providers and those with Spanish language proficiency.
There are many success stories from the technical assistance program we launched in 2020. One restaurant received help completing its Paycheck Protection Program application, a dry cleaner received a new website with easy online ordering and scheduling, a nonprofit received help updating its employee manual to address new remote work guidelines and a dentist received digital and social ads to reach new patients. COVID required small businesses to quickly change how they provide goods and services. In-person shopping, eating, events and other connections are now balanced with the need for virtual contact, remote service delivery and physical facility adaptations. Small businesses have shown true resilience; they also report that having professional assistance in these key areas has enabled them to continue their full employment and keep sales at a sustainable level.
News Source: The Journal Record