Center for Hospitality Resilience and Center of Digital Transformation for Small Business will offer statewide assistance to small businesses affected by the pandemic
PHILADELPHIA, July 8, 2020 — In March, when the COVID-19 pandemic was still in its infancy, Maura Shenker, director of Temple University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), said that the role of her center has never been more important than it is now. That role continues to grow, too.
Earlier this month, The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers announced the launch of six new “Centers of Excellence” to be housed within nine of the 16 SBDCs located in Pennsylvania. Two of the centers, the Center for Hospitality Resilience and the Center of Digital Transformation for Small Business, will be housed at Temple University. Funding for the centers comes from a Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) grant that was provided to the U.S. Small Business Administration. All of the services offered by the new centers will be available free of charge to Pennsylvania small businesses. The Center of Digital Transformation for Small Business is also co-sponsored and co-funded by Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT).
“This is an opportunity for us to do what we do best but on an even larger scale,” Shenker says. “COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on small businesses and restaurants, but with this new CARES Act funding, we’re able to offer support and assistance in real, tangible ways. We do not just want to see small businesses survive this pandemic. We want them to be positioned to thrive for years to come, and we believe that these two new centers can help many businesses do just that.”
The Center for Hospitality Resilience has been designed to provide assistance to small tourism and hospitality businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. The center is co-directed by Ceridwyn King, associate professor and chairperson of Temple’s Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management, and is already hosting a free weekly webinar series.
Other services it will provide include:
- Review of revised restaurant layout in compliance with social distancing
- Review of website content/social media campaigns/pricing strategies
- Review of health and safety guidelines
- Review of personnel retention strategies/new revenue sources/ operating cost controls/ event operations plans
In addition to Shenker, the Center of Digital Transformation for Small Business will be co-directed by Munir Mandviwalla, associate professor of Management Information Systems and executive director of IBIT.
The services it will offer include:
- Transform business to increase revenue or sustain operations online (e.g., digital storefront, web, or social presence).
- Empower small business owners with training and tools to identify, use, and manipulate digital tools (e.g., create and manage e-commerce presence).
- Assist small business to configure, integrate, and enhance existing systems with easy to use open source cloud based digital tools (e.g., connect retail POS with e-commerce).
- Partner with entrepreneurial small business owners to prototype new digital centric business models that can have a major impact.
The Center of Digital Transformation for Small Business has already started fielding these requests, completing projects for a number of small businesses, including Pure Eco-Wellness Salon & Spa, Brie’s Body Boutique and Uncorked by the Sea.
Small businesses interested in the services of the Center for Hospitality Resilience or the Center of Digital Transformation for Small Business can sign up via the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers website.
Additional Centers of Excellence housed within the SBDC network include GrowthWheel, Health Life Science, Latino and Agriculture. Their services are also available to all Pennsylvania small businesses. For more information, contact the Temple SBDC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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