Shuttered Venue grant portal experiences technical difficulties
Paycheck Protection Program deadline extended to May 31
New round for TechCred applications is open until April 30
SBDC again offers Profit Mastery course to Ohio businesses
Virtual trade mission to Mexico can create business opportunities
Ohio’s Economy Shows Strong Signs of Recovery
Governor Mike DeWine this week outlined the progression of Ohio's economic recovery.
Ohio’s gross domestic product (GDP) outpaced the nation in the final quarter of calendar year 2020. The U.S. GDP is estimated to have grown 4.3 percent in the quarter, and Ohio’s GDP is estimated to have increased 5 percent during the same timeframe.
Ohio’s unemployment rate in February 2021 was 5 percent, and the national rate was 6.2 percent.
This month, Ohio’s tax revenues exceeded the monthly estimate by $41 million, or 2.6 percent, and remain 4.3 percent above the estimate for the fiscal year-to-date. This is a dramatic improvement from one year ago.
These positive developments follow several steps taken by Governor DeWine at the onset of the pandemic to ensure that the state budget remained balanced and stable, including a freeze on state government spending, cuts in state staffing costs, and refinanced state bonds.
“I made these hard choices early on, tightening our belt because we did not know what the future held,” Governor DeWine said. “A strong post-pandemic economy directly depends on defeating the virus, and as we are working hard to vaccinate Ohioans, we are seeing good signs in our economy as well.”
Governor DeWine Announces Consolidated Health Order
The Ohio Department of Health has issued a simplified health order that streamlines previous orders into a single order that underscores the most important tenants of infection prevention.
“Our understanding of this virus and how it spreads is much more advanced than it was when we first learned about coronavirus in early 2020,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “As we move to begin a new chapter in our fight against the pandemic, where more and more Ohioans are being vaccinated, this new order will focus on our best defense measures against COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, limiting large gatherings, being outside, and practicing good hand hygiene.”
Ohio will begin working with employers and other organizations to offer workplace vaccination clinics throughout Ohio. Beginning the week of April 12, vaccine providers can allot up to 25 percent of their vaccine allocation to be used to vaccinate their own employees or to partner with local employers, labor unions, churches, and other organizations to vaccinate their employees at their work locations. Employers and organizations are encouraged to reach out to their local health department and vaccine providers to set up vaccination clinics.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has updated its vaccination guidance for employers and organizations. To read it, click here (PDF). ODH also has guidance for vaccine providers working with Ohio employers and organizations. To read it, click here.
All Ohioans 16 years old and older are eligible for vaccinations at clinics and sites across the state. Appointments can be scheduled by visiting gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling 1-833-427-5634 (1-833-4-ASK-ODH).
COVID-19 Cases Per 100,000 Increases
This week is the second week in which the COVID-19 cases over two weeks per 100,000 people have gone up by more than 10. Two weeks ago, Ohio's cases per 100,000 people were 146.9. Today, cases per 100,000 people is at 183.7.
“We are moving in the wrong direction from our statewide goal of 50 cases per 100,000 people,” Governor DeWine said. “We are not seeing the runaway case growth we saw during the fall yet, so we can still turn this around if more people continue to get vaccinated and we continue to mask and social distance.”
When the rate drops to 50 cases per 100,000 over a two-week period, all health orders will be lifted, according to Governor Mike DeWine.
This week’s Ohio Public Health Advisory System shows that four counties are at Level 1 (Yellow), 32 are at Level 2 (Orange) and 52 are at Level 3 (Red). Franklin County remains at Level 3 but is now on the Level 4 (Purple) Watch List. To review the Ohio Public Health Advisory System information, click here.
Federal Shuttered Venue Grant Portal Experiences Technical Difficulties
The U.S. Small Business Administration opened the application portal for its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant at noon Thursday, but it began experiencing technical difficulties. Applicants still can register for a new account but cannot complete the application process.
The SBA will provide notice of the time and date the portal will reopen so applicants can be prepared. To register a new account, click here.
Determining eligibility and completing the application process, however, can be complex, so the Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are prepared to help businesses through the process. SBDCs are located throughout the state. To find one in your city or region, click here.
Applicants also will be required to register in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM.gov). Ohio SBDC advisors can help businesses with the registration process. The Ohio University Procurement Technical Assistance Center recently hosted a webinar about registering for SAM.gov. To view a recording of the webinar, click here.
Federal Government Provides Small Business Assistance
Paycheck Protection Program: The deadline for applying for federal financial help through the Paycheck Protection Program has been pushed back to May 31. The program had been scheduled to end on Wednesday, March 31. The program is administered by the SBA. For more information, click here.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund: Restaurant owners should be watching for the launch of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to be administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA has not released details about the fund yet, but news reports indicate the agency plans to launch the program within weeks. The National Restaurant Association has produced a document that includes some details of the fund. To access the pdf, click here. The SBA announced on social media that SAM.gov registration will not be required for this program.
COVID-19 disaster loans: The SBA is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and nonprofit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting the week of April 6, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from six months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24 months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000. Also, on March 16, the SBA extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the EIDL program, until 2022.
Ohio Business Centers Can Help with SBA Applications
Remember that Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and Ohio Minority Business Assistance Centers (MBAC) across the state are available to help businesses with the federal application process, including SAM.gov registration. To find a local SBDC, click here. To find a local MBAC, click here.
Choose Ohio First Boosts State’s STEM Efforts
Lt. Governor Jon Husted this week highlighted a scholarship that boosts Ohio’s efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The scholarship, part of the Choose Ohio First (COF) program, will support an estimated 3,400 Ohio students who are new to the program, along with an additional 3,000 existing COF scholars. The scholarship awards a total of $69,826,882 over the next five years.
“The Choose Ohio First scholarship is helping Ohio students get a head start on their future careers, preparing them for in-demand jobs, including coding and cybersecurity,” said Lt. Governor Husted, who led efforts to create the program as then-Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. “This new investment shows how valuable a STEM education – and keeping those students in Ohio – is to the state. I encourage high school students to consider the Choose Ohio First program as they are looking at their future college education."
This new COF scholarship will support students completing programs in the STEM disciplines at 57 colleges and universities across the state, including several schools that are new to the program.
A new application period for Ohio’s TechCred program is open, and companies can apply until 3 p.m. April 30. Since the program started, 1,168 Ohio employers have been approved for funding, supporting the earning of 19,841 tech-focused credentials by Ohio employees. To learn more about the program, visit TechCred.Ohio.Gov.
Financial Planning Course Available to Ohio Businesses
Beginning June 3, Ohio small business owners may participate in a six-session virtual course in financial management that will give participants the tools and confidence needed to manage their businesses by the numbers.
The program is called Profit Mastery, and it provides independent business owners financial perspective and tools to take advantage of opportunities and deal with challenges.
Participants will attend six virtual sessions and will have access to the Profit Mastery online video curriculum. Any business that has been open at least one year and is interested in exploring new opportunities to increase profitability and manage cash flow during the coronavirus pandemic should attend.
The cost for the course normally is $895, but the Ohio Small Business Development Centers have worked with Profit Mastery so that 400 Ohio businesses will be able to participate at no cost.
Virtual Trade Mission Opens Opportunities in Mexico
Mexico is second only to Canada in its imports of products from Ohio companies, and an upcoming event can help more Ohio companies enter that market.
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers is offering a multi-sector Virtual Trade Mission to Mexico from June 21 to July 2, 2021. Like an in-person trade mission, participants will receive a prescreened, virtual business-to-business meeting schedule with potential distributors, buyers, and joint venture partners. The virtual trade mission format allows companies to extend their geographic reach in Mexico as meetings are not limited to specific cities or regions. Participants will also benefit from market-sector briefings, an online meeting platform, and support from the Governors and Premiers’ Mexico Trade Office.
For up-to-date information on sector-specific operating requirements, continued closures, and other business resources, click here.
Ohio Emergency PPE Makers’ Exchange Helps Businesses Find PPE
The Ohio Emergency PPE Makers’ Exchange is an online marketplace where organizations that need personal protective equipment (PPE) and related equipment can find a wide selection offered by Ohio manufacturers. This online service is especially well-suited for organizations that may have lower-volume needs.
For more information and to participate in the Exchange, click here.
A list of Ohio Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) certified companies selling PPE and related products and services is available here (PDF).
In addition to the resources available via the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance Makers’ Exchange, another list of vendors providing various PPE is available here (PDF).
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We’re Here to Help!
The Ohio Development Services Agency has many resources to help business owners make it through the current crisis and prepare for a strong future. Here are some of the resources, and most of them are offered at no cost to businesses.
We’re Pushing News and Information on Social Media
Development also is using its social media channels to raise awareness of programs and assistance available through the state and federal governments. We also are urging small businesses to reach out to Ohio Small Business Development Centers and Minority Business Assistance Centers around the state for help in applying for federal assistance and to plan for the future.