Lakeshore Advantage Accelerates Programming and Support During COVID-19

Posted in News on June 17, 2020

Lakeshore Advantage Accelerates Programming and Support During COVID-19
Recognizing need, investors double their financial commitments 

 
6/17/2020 // ZEELAND, MICH – The City of Zeeland and Zeeland Board of Public Works approved doubling their investments in Lakeshore Advantage this week. The additional support was made in recognition of Lakeshore Advantage’s leadership during COVID-19 and the need of significant, continued business support in the post-pandemic recovery. 
 
The Zeeland City Council approved a doubling of their annual contribution to Lakeshore Advantage from $22,500 to $45,000 on Monday. The Zeeland Board of Public Works approved an increase of annual funding support from $25,000 to $50,000 on Wednesday. 
 
“Since its inception, Lakeshore Advantage has been, and continues to be, a tremendous leader and partner with the city on our economic development efforts,” said Tim Klunder, city manager, City of Zeeland. “We are known for our strong industrial base that results in a vibrant economy and offers great jobs within our community. With many businesses experiencing negative economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel our decision to double our contribution to Lakeshore Advantage is a solid investment in their services in order to ensure a full return to our strong local economic base. This is needed especially in a time when the current situation means others may not be in a position to invest in the important work of Lakeshore Advantage.” 
 
In order to determine the best way to support area primary employers during this pandemic, Lakeshore Advantage conducted quick polls to quantify COVID-19 impact on local businesses. More than 500 businesses from Allegan and Ottawa county responded to eight quick polls and proactive outreach by the Lakeshore Advantage team. 
 
“Data from the quick polls shows that 91% of area companies have experienced a revenue decrease as a result of COVID-19, and we recognize some of our private sector investors will be facing revenue constraints,” said Jennifer Owens, president, Lakeshore Advantage.  “We are very grateful for the City of Zeeland’s and Zeeland Board of Public Works’ increased support, and we are hopeful that investors who are in a position to do so, will join the City of Zeeland and Zeeland Board of Public Works in increasing their support.“
 
The quick poll data and information gathered through over 300 one-on-one interactions with employers laid the foundation for new support, education and training from the Lakeshore Advantage team during COVID-19:
 
  • Webinar Series: Lakeshore Advantage launched a digital education series which educated more than 1,500 attendees on new programs, workplace requirements and restrictions.
  • Michigan Small Business Relief and Grant Program Administration:  More than 850 applications were received and reviewed by the Lakeshore Advantage team and nine local chambers of commerce. Thirty-one small businesses were funded through the program, with an additional five receiving loan support.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Navigation:  More than 125 PPE resource connections were made by the Lakeshore Advantage team during the pandemic.  
  • COVID-19 Web Platform:  A new webpage at www.lakeshoreadvantage.com/covid-19 was launched. This led to an 825% increase in web traffic during the pandemic. The COVID-19 business resources webpage was updated daily and included an online Return to Work Toolkit with guidelines for returning to work safely for employers by industry that has been accessed over 2,700 times. 
 
“We are the megaphone for our region, ensuring area business leaders’ concerns are heard. It has been an honor and a privilege to support employers in good times and through crisis,” said Jennifer Owens. “Our team’s activity, one-on-one interactions and programming tripled from our typical outreach during this pandemic.” 

Lakeshore Advantage’s analysis of the latest quick poll data that includes 220 business leader responses from four quick polls over a seven week period (April 20-June 3) can be found at www.lakeshoreadvantage.com/our-region/data.