Communities Rising to the Challenge


A new series dedicated to highlighting the great work economic development organizations and entrepreneurial ecosystem builders are doing in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Syracuse, NY

The City of Syracuse jumped into action through the Syracuse Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) and established a $500,000 fund to provide zero-interest, 6 month emergency loans to small businesses across City. The loans will offer up to $25,000 for businesses to cover immediate crisis costs and weather the economic impacts of the COVID crisis. The loan purposefully allows for uses that may not be covered in other federal funds from the Small Business Administration or other agencies. In addition to the loan fund, the City also eliminated fees for on-street parking to enable easier access for patrons picking up meals from downtown restaurants who are offering take-out meals. The application form, instructions and FAQ's can be found here:  


Tallahassee, FL

Tallahassee/Leon County Office of Economic Vitality is taking a combined detailed tactical approach within a comprehensive approach to the COVID-19 crises. All culminating in a crisp, easy-to-access webpage highlighting their information and services to assist businesses and entrepreneurs. These include:

  • COVID-19 Economic Disaster Relief (CEDR) Grant Program - Designed to offer a lifeline to local small for-profit businesses of less than 50 employees by providing up to a $5,000 grant to support continuity of business operations. Totaling $1 million, the program is meant to serve as a bridge to other state and federal programs.
  • “Open for Take-Out” – Interactive GIS map tracking and providing access to restaurant and food services open for takeout. This is based on their "Open for Business” platform developed in response to Hurricane Michael.
  • COVID-19 Business Survey – Set up to gather and develop rapid responses and support business throughout the crisis.
  • COVID-19 Business Resource Guide – Full guide to services and resources.

What makes this a best practice is the speed to which it was developed and deployed, the accessibility and usability of the site, and the comprehensiveness of the services being provided. More at


Groton, CT

In addition to creating a custom list of disaster assistance resources for their business community, the Town of Groton economic development and planning staff curates a Restaurant Update page on their website that lists the restaurants  in the town that are open with hours, contact information, and links to websites and Facebook pages. 


If your community or a community you know is rising to the challenge, we want to celebrate with you. Email Christa at and we'll feature the great work in a future edition of Communities Rising to the Challenge. 



Our team stands ready to help you expand your crisis response team.   Let's do this.





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