Original content from Burlington Economic Development found here.
How Get Found on Google for Free
They are looking for your business -- but can they find you? It is important that a business’ information appears – and appears correctly – when people search online. Discover how to ensure your prospective and existing clients can easily find your business's website and location. Find out the best practices to encourage search engines such as Google to display your website in search results without paying for ads.
Getting found on Google means lots of good things for your business. It means building a stronger online presence, creating brand awareness for your business, and getting more customers in the door. Join us for this workshop and learn how to create or claim your local business listing using Google My Business.
How to Choose the Right Social Media
You have a business and now need to make decisions on where to focus your energy on social media. There are thousands of social media options for businesses to choose from. This lively webinar will narrow your selection down and give you the pros and cons of the most popular based on your business type and niche. We will discuss best practices, posting times, and how to increase engagement
This post was provided to us by Neil McTighe from the UNC-CH branch of the NC Small Business & Technology Development Center.
The spread of the novel coronavirus has disrupted the lives of billions and had an enormous impact on businesses nationwide. Businesses have been forced to close their doors, lay off staff, transition to remote work, switch to online sales, and so much more.
Now that North Carolina has begun easing restrictions, the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) is here to help businesses adjust to the “new normal.”
The SBTDC is a business and technology extension program of the UNC System, administered by NC State University and operated in partnership with the US Small Business Administration. The SBTDC’s business counselors assist small and mid-sized businesses throughout North Carolina with 16 offices across the state.
This post originally appeared on the City of Burlington Blog Page, found here.
Over the past five months there has been a lot of turnover in the funding opportunities for businesses. Options like the Paycheck Protection Program have exhausted funds but new opportunities are coming up. Please go through this post and see some of the funding sources available to businesses here in Burlington, some are specific to our area and others are more widespread. Reach out to the Burlington Economic Development Department if you have any questions.
City of Burlington Microenterprise Loans
Qualifying Burlington businesses with five employees or fewer can apply for forgivable loans of up to $7000. Funds must be used for approved expenses related to COVID-19 impacts. The business owner or over half of employees of the business must have low- or moderate-income as defined by HUD to be eligible.
Microenterprise Loans will be accepted and reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis by the City’s Economic Development Office until funds are exhausted. The application for this program can be found at this link, please select the Microenterprise Loan Application when on the site: https://portal.neighborlysoftware.com/BURLINGTON/Participant
For more information about Microenterprise Loans, contact Blake Moyer via phone at 336-222-5081 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Qualifying Burlington businesses with five employees or fewer can apply for forgivable loans of up to $7000. Funds must be used for approved expenses related to COVID-19 impacts.
The business owner or over half of employees of the business must have low- or moderate-income as defined by HUD to be eligible. Non-profits are not eligible for this funding opportunity, only for-profit, private businesses operating in the City of Burlington.
Follow the link to the Burlington Economic Development website for more information.
BURLINGTON, NC- On June 26th , Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 147 went into place, requiring all North Carolinians to wear face coverings in public when social distancing is not possible to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
To ensure Burlington residents have access to a reusable cloth face covering, the City of Burlington coordinated to purchase locally made masks for distribution in Burlington, keeping our supply chain tight and our money local. Distribution events have been scheduled in various locations throughout Burlington for convenient drive-thru pick-up.
Mask Distribution Events:
COVID-19 is exposing the digital divide in North Carolina and its consequences for all of us. Students and adults who don’t have access to the internet, don’t have a computer or laptop or don’t know how to use them – for education, work, health, or connection – are at an impossible disadvantage.
Digital Inclusion – creating opportunities for everyone to access and be able to use affordable internet and devices – is more important than ever.
What is BAND-NC?
In response to this immediate need, the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State (IEI) in partnership with the Broadband Infrastructure Office at the NC Department of Information Technology, and with principal support from the John M. Belk Endowment¹, is addressing the digital divide across NC through a new program called “Building a New Digital Economy” (BAND-NC).
BAND-NC will provide rapid-response community innovation mini-grants to communities across the state.
This fall, grantees will be invited to join technical assistance workshops to build county-wide digital inclusion plans. A second round of funding to support the implementation of these plans will be available in Spring 2021.
The ultimate goal of the program is to make North Carolina the first state in the nation where every county has a digital inclusion plan in place.
¹ Additional support comes from the Roanoke Electric Cooperative and North Carolina Electric Cooperatives.
Free recordings from the UNC School of Government faculty in partnership with Community Food Strategies of NC and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NCSU to offer four lunch-and-learn "Office Hours" sessions. Each session features local practitioners using strategies to help communities deal with food insecurities and supply chain disruptions during COVID-19. A local resiliency strategy is featured in each recording, with an open period for questions from participants. Topics and featured local practitioners are:
School Nutrition Programs (May 27) – Efforts to continue prepared food distributions during school closures for children who qualify for free and reduced price school nutrition programs. Discussion Leaders: Maureen Berner (SOG faculty); Linden Thayer, Food Insight Group, Durham
Community Gardens and Farms (June 3) - Working with local farmers to source and distribute food supplies and provide weekend family meals to supplement school nutrition programs. Discussion Leaders: Carl Vierling, Greater High Point Food Alliance; Chester Williams, “A Better Chance, A Better Community”, Halifax County; Kelly Owensby, Transplanting Traditions, Orange County.
Leveraging Underutilized Infrastructure to Improve Food Access & Supply (June 10) - Using vacant buildings, open spaces, and closed restaurants with refrigerated storage to provide sites for food distribution and safe supply. Discussion Leaders: Eric Henry, TS Designs, Burlington; Heidi Norwick, Alamance United Way; Doug Calaway, Your Local Greens, Burlington.
Food Business Innovation in the Time of COVID-19 (June 17) - Keeping food-related businesses in business. Discussion leaders: Gabriel Cummings, Working Landscapes, Warrenton; Emily McCormick and Ron Judkins, Co-owners, “On Main Southern Eatery”, Warrenton.
By: Devin Steele from eTextile Communications
Fairystone Fabrics, a Burlington, N.C., textile manufacturer specializing in warp knitting, warping and sueding, has produced technical fabrics for automotive, filtration and some niche markets such as medical for many years.
The company, which produces laminated fabric for several different levels of PPE gowns, has ramped up production in the medical field from six to eight tricot machines to 56 in nine weeks, according to company President Jim Bryan.
“We were given specifications by our customer and developed a number of samples until we found the best alternative,” Bryan said. “It is actually a fabric we made a number of years ago with slight modifications.”
The fabric has some unique features from a manufacturing perspective, and requires retrofitting machines with auxiliary equipment, he pointed out. Some it had in-house, some it imported from Europe and some it made from spare parts or used local machine shops, he added.
“We believe in continuous improvement,” Bryan said. “The fabric we make today is made on modern machines that are different than the ones we had 20 years ago. They require technical skills and knowledge to make the important adjustments for an efficient and first-quality product. Yarn is becoming a constraint.”
Read more below and see the orignial posting here:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In an effort to promote economic development and support North Carolina communities, Duke Energy is implementing the new program – ‘Hire North Carolina’ – to maximize the use of locally owned and diverse contractors for utility projects within the state.
“We want to continue to support job creation and investment with suppliers, vendors and contractors who, like many of our team members, are proud to call North Carolina home,” said Melody Birmingham, senior vice president of supply chain and chief procurement officer for Duke Energy. “Hire North Carolina will be a useful resource for Duke Energy to expand access to our local and diverse talent for construction projects.”
“As a small business owner, I am passionate about supporting other local and women and minority-owned businesses,” said Neeta Singh, owner of Tiger Controls, a Greensboro-based electrical and electronic distributor and engineering services provider. “At a time when many small businesses are facing financial challenges, I appreciate this new initiative to identify diverse suppliers. This program will not only drive in-state investments but open up additional opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses, and I look forward to adding our company name to the Hire North Carolina list.”
Read more below for information on qualifying projects and further details on the program!
Six months ago, if I offered a person on the street $100 to tell me what PPE stands for, do you think they would know it stood for Personal Protective Equipment? Likely not! Indeed, the need, use and manufacturing of PPE has become quite the hot-button issue in the US during the COVID-19 crisis. North Carolina, with our rich history in textiles and manufacturing, has responded to these needs in resounding fashion. Across the state, masks, face shields and gowns found new producers through our strong manufacturing and textiles firms.
In response to Governor Cooper's Phase 2 restrictions, the City of Burlington has expedited permit processes for restaurants and fitness classes in Burlington to increase outdoor dining capabilities and allowing fitness classes to be held (with social distancing) at Burlington's Parks such as Springwood, Fairchild, and Joe Davidson.
Two existing tools have been modified to provide staff-level review of proposed outdoor seating at no charge. These applications are available now online at www.BurlingtonNC.gov/Planning.
1) A Temporary Use Permit allows restaurants to apply to use a portion of their parking lot to provide additional seating. Fitness studios could use the same tool to apply to use a portion of their parking lot for classes instead of parking.
2) An Outdoor Dining Permit allows applicants to request seating opportunities on public property (excluding streets). Once approved, outdoor dining is allowed until 30 days after the governor ceases restaurant capacity restrictions.
These applications, including proof of property owner approval, certificate of liability insurance, and a sketch plan, are reviewed and approved at a staff level which can be done expeditiously.
Senior Planner Conrad Olmedo is handling this process. He can be reached directly at 336-513-5415 or by email at email@example.com.
FITNESS IN THE PARK
Additionally, the Burlington Recreation and Parks Department is coordinating applicants for the Outdoor Fitness Permit, linked here. This permit will allow fitness classes to be operated by an establishment at one of Burlington’s park green spaces.
Recreation and Parks Events Coordinator, Emily Crowley, is the staff contact for these applications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-229-3149.
MAY 21, 2020 / Madison Taylor
You can also find this blog post on Madison Taylor's page by following this link:
A few hours after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper unfurled the new and slightly confusing “Safer at Home” phase two plan for reopening the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants and other impacted businesses in Alamance County began their own rollouts for how to serve customers safely in the weeks and months ahead.
And it’s a mixed bag. Some restaurants are planning to reopen public seating in dining areas with 50 percent occupancy in phases. Some are reopening at 5:01 p.m. on Friday when the new regulations go into effect while others are waiting a few days. Others with more limited inside space plan to continue takeout and curbside service but not reopen dining rooms at the moment. And a great many are asking municipal leaders for permits to serve customers on sidewalks or parking lots. And for a few the stay-at-home measure put in place more than two months ago proved insurmountable.
At the behest of Burlington Beer Works Brewery and Restaurant and other establishments, Burlington City Council began discussing outdoor dining options for restaurants this week. They did so knowing that Phase 2 was likely to start on Friday, May 22.
I had a conversation today (May 21) with Peter Bishop, director of Economic Development for the city of Burlington. He’s at the center of discussions about how to help restaurants “enhance their selling potential when they open back up rather than do takeout or curbside service.” A lot of areas outside of North Carolina are already allowing restaurants to use outdoor spaces by creating parklets, utilizing parking lots or even closing some streets temporarily.
The same could happen locally soon.
“I think we can make suburban outdoor dining happen pretty quickly on sidewalks or under-utilized parking lots,” Bishop said. “Downtown we’re looking at (the Historic Depot) space, nearby parking lots or streets for restaurants not near parking lots or the depot space.”
Bishop said the intention is for the city to make it happen.
#ChooseAlamance Support Local Campaign
This week the Alamance Chamber launched the Choose Alamance Campaign to support small and local businesses.
Over the next few weeks we will be honoring and celebrating our local businesses by hosting learning opportunities, enhancing encouragement to "Shop Local", highlighting member businesses and running social media challenges. We also have a few promotional items you can request for your business to help us get the word out about Choose Alamance.
This week, Burlington-headquartered life-sciences company LabCorp announced it received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 at-home test kit.
The kits will be offered through the Pixel by LabCorp™ platform and initially be made available to healthcare workers and first responders.
LabCorp intends to make COVID-19 self-collection kits available to consumers in the coming weeks. Future updates about the self-collection kits can be found on LabCorp’s COVID-19 microsite.
"LabCorp continues to develop new ways to help patients and healthcare providers fight the COVID-19 crisis through our leading testing capabilities and deep scientific and research expertise,” said Adam Schechter, president and CEO of LabCorp. “Our at-home collection kits are designed to make it easier and safer to test healthcare workers and first responders during this important time.”
LabCorp's leadership in the response to COVID-19 and their commitment to providing fast, accurate solutions to the healthcare community are critical in this pandemic. Alamance County is thankful to be home to LabCorp and the many dedicated scientists, technicians and their support staffs who are delivering for the world!
In a time of national crisis, our citizens, governments and businesses are pulling together in creative ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to dire needs, we’ve seen North Carolina’s textile companies switching to making personal protective equipment (PPE), our distilleries pivoting to hand sanitizer production, and the innovative college departments and makerspaces throughout the state are using 3D printers make medical devices.
Likewise, Burlington and Alamance County enjoy a close-knit community full of caring individuals, companies and innovators who have shown remarkable ingenuity to help solve local COVID-19 problems with local resources.
Laura Stanfield, director of the emergency department at Cone Health Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, recently leveraged our local network to solve a problem she recognized coronavirus treatment would bring.
Important Update: Grant Opportunity - Applications Available NOW
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is launching the “Save Small Business Fund” for certain zip codes across the country. Small businesses that employ between 3 and 20 people and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for the $5,000 grant.
The application will go live on April 20, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. PT and will only take a few minutes to complete. All you will need is your business’s W-9 form. Grants will be awarded on a weekly basis, but you only need to apply one time to be eligible for funding.
For more information about this opportunity, visit the page linked below. On this page, there is also the option to sign up to receive an email notification when the application goes live!
The current state of the nation’s economy has taken a major impact during the COVID-19 era and current small businesses have suffered greatly. If you had plans on starting a new business you may feel that the timing is not right and possibly surrender any idea you may have of being an entrepreneur. Though many sectors of the economy have seen a downturn, startups can gain a new foothold during this time.
Startups are exciting! Entrepreneurs can provide creative ways to provide new experiences to consumers. If you’re serious about starting a company, now is the perfect time to get yourself setup for success. I provided answers to frequently asked questions. I enjoy working with small businesses and I want to help Alamance County businesses and startups and I’m willing to listen to any of your questions or concerns.
Now that the PPP is out of funds, what's next? Another wave of legislation at the Federal level seems inevitable, but in the meantime there are more programs from the CARES Act they may be of interest to business, especially those with loans they would like to refinance.
Check out the document below for the Treasury Department's guide on the Exchange Stabilization Fund and pay particular attention to the Main Street Lending portion of the guide.
As always, reach out if you have questions or need guidance.