Business

Program extended for small business owners seeking guidance in pandemic recovery

Suffolk County has announced an expansion of a series of workshops for small business owners looking for help navigating the pandemic.

The workshops, a public-private partnership run by Shift Group in a partnership with Stony Brook University’s School of Business and Suffolk Forward, are designed to give small businesses the tools necessary to survive the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19. The program is funded with economic support from Bank of America.

The new workshops, the first of which will run in December, followed by a second series in January, will accommodate between 200 to 300 small Suffolk County businesses, according to Manuel London, dean of the College of Business at Stony Brook University.

Tom Moebus of Shift Group, an online education company training entrepreneurs, said the small business owners are assigned to small teams in the virtual training programs — which have already been occurring on a pilot basis. The business owners, with the help of Stony Brook faculty, discuss the issues they’re facing and share ideas with other small business owners in the workshops. The Shift Group also provides them with its own custom “simple tool gearbox” to utilize in their recovery, Mr. Moebus said.

“It will help them overcome the obstacles and … create a new way to work into the future,” he added.

Mr. Moebus said that working closely together business can often move forward more quickly.

“When working in a desperate situation for a while they run out of ideas,” he said of usually creative entrepreneurs.

Dave Calone of Suffolk Forward and County Executive Steve Bellone said the guidance is even more important now. Mr. Bellone warned of a rising second wave of coronavirus cases and Mr. Calone warned entrepreneurs may soon feel the effects of a lack of renewed economic recovery assistance from the federal government.

“This is something we started in the spring …,” Mr. Calone said, “but it’s more important now than ever.”

Small business owners interested in the program can register on the Shift Group website at shiftgroup.com/pandemic-shift.

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