Innovators. Communicators. Collaborators.
Fighting for the Livelihoods of NEPA’s Hard-Hit Businesses
Northeastern Pennsylvania’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They bring life to our downtowns, are key economic drivers, employ our families, friends and neighbors, and support our communities. Some were established several generations ago and some in recent years. All, however, are suffering due to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The necessary shutdown of every state in our nation has taken a serious toll on the future of these businesses. The livelihoods of their owners and employees, and our regional economy lie in the balance.
While our region is rich with exemplary organizations and generous individuals willing to help businesses keep the lights on and people employed, many owners find themselves unaware or unable to access the services needed to get them through this critical time.
Boost Business NEPA is a proactive initiative to answer the call. This unique collaborative partnership harnesses the resources, expertise, experience, connections, technology, and energy of leaders in business and banking, marketing and media, economic development and government, education and healthcare, as well as the faith community. Bridging the gap and assisting business owners in need, Boost Business NEPA provides resources and solutions in real time.
While healthcare workers have been on the frontlines saving lives, Boost Business NEPA has been working behind the scenes to save livelihoods. This innovative effort has the power to change the trajectory of our regional economy and positively impact our hard-hit businesses who have given so much to our community.
Immediate Need Requires Immediate Action
Boost Business NEPA has created and developed a multimedia, multi-platform campaign designed to engage businesses, collect data, challenge stakeholders, raise money, build partnerships, and offer hope.
Traditional media including print, outdoor, radio and television will synergistically work with new media including web broadcast, e-marketing, behavioral targeting, digital outreach, and social media.
The Boost Business NEPA Landing Page is live. A technology beta test is complete. Results point toward success. While building the brand and directing targeted audiences to BoostBusinessNEPA.com, our online platform challenges each visitor to answer yes to one of the following two questions:
- Are you a business-in-need?
- Are you willing to help a business-in-need?
Respondents build in real time, a transparent, searchable and intuitive database which is segmented geographically, demographically and by business category to connect those with specific needs with opportunities for assistance.
Every online visitor can take immediate action. Businesses in need identify specific areas where they need the most help. Similarly, those visitors who are willing to help offer expertise and experience, counsel and connections as well as financial assistance.
The Boost Business NEPA Website includes informational webinars, news updates, videos, market statistics, incentive options, match programs, success stories and an ongoing and updated directory of resources.
Boost Business NEPA collaborators are promoting the initiative on their own traditional and digital platforms… with public service announcements and incentive programs, in print, on air, and on social media including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Working Toward a Self-Sustaining Campaign
Concerned for the livelihoods of employers and employees of every business in our region, marketing and creative executive Helen Lavelle, President of Lavelle Strategy Group and her longtime client Dan Santaniello, President of Fidelity Bank, immediately understood that the impact on businesses in NEPA would be devastating. With a mutual commitment to fight for the livelihoods of soon-to-be hard-hit businesses, a strategy was developed in March 2020 and a plan put in place.
Innovators, communicators and collaborators were recruited in April, May and June to join our fight. Partners in marketing and media, business and banking, government, economic development, education and healthcare stepped up to serve.
Although generosity is at the core of the initiative, there remains a cost to launch and maintain it. Founding partners provided the initial capital and in-kind services to launch this critical initiative, with the teams at Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Lavelle Strategy Group and Wilkes-Barre’s Coal Creative leading the charge.
Boost Business NEPA is sensitive to the fact that our partners can provide only so much public service time and in-kind services. Fidelity Bank committed to funding initial expenses. Additional financial institutions and prospective partners were invited to do the same.
Initial documents have been reviewed by multiple attorneys, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, government officials, committed partners and business collaborators and prospective funders.
Legal counsel had been retained (Brigid Carey, Esq.) and accounting services (Michael Rich, CPA) assisted in ensuring best practices. Ultimately, the decision to partner with the Luzerne Foundation (501(c)3) was found to be in the best interest of our small business community. Esteemed leaders of the region’s community will serve on the Gift Giving Committee, which will be chaired by Sr. Elizabeth McGill, IHM, PhD.
We’re All In This Together
The COVID-19 pandemic has left our businesses in shock and denial, in helplessness and frustration, in anger and fear and exhaustion. Boost Business NEPA was created and developed to move all of us out of the problem and into the solution.
Boost Business NEPA leadership believes in the resiliency of NEPA’s small to mid-size businesses.
The pandemic has forced all of us to re-imagine, re-invent, re-invest, and re-create our regional economy. We choose to move our region forward in the way we will all work together in the future.
There is room for every citizen and every business, for every family and every friend, for every organization, for every borough and municipality, for every advocacy group, for every foundation to join us. Please invest time, talent, energy, wisdom and wealth into Boost Business NEPA, our innovative and inclusive initiative.