The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected small businesses and local economies. According to Statista, an April 2022 survey revealed that 21.6% of small businesses who responded in the US claimed that the pandemic had caused significant losses to their companies. Many small businesses have been forced to close their doors due to restrictions on gatherings and a decrease in customer demand.
However, not only businesses were affected by the pandemic—communities as a whole have experienced hardship. Many people have lost their jobs, and some have even become homeless. Families have struggled to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
The government has enacted policies to help people and businesses weather the storm, but more can be done. Here are four ways businesses and the government can work together to help the community.
1. Hosting Job Fairs:
Small businesses can partner with the government to host job fairs. This will help connect people who are looking for work with jobs open for hire. The government can promote these job fairs and provide resources to make them run smoothly.
By partnering with the government, small businesses can tap into a wider pool of potential candidates and identify individuals who are a good fit for their open positions. Job fairs also provide an opportunity for businesses to promote their company culture and values to potential employees.
Examples of industries that may participate are construction, retail, food service, healthcare, and manufacturing. Small businesses can also create training programs to help employees learn new skills or brush up on existing ones. These will ensure that their employees are well-equipped to handle the job’s demands.
Overall, job fairs are a win-win for both small businesses and job seekers, and partnering with the government can help to make them even more successful.
2. Offering Free or Discounted Services:
Many businesses offer services the community needs, such as childcare, transportation, and healthcare. During times of hardship, companies can offer these services for free or at a reduced cost. This will help people who are struggling to make ends meet.
This can be a great way to attract new customers and build goodwill. For example, a daycare center could offer free or discounted services to families who have lost their jobs. This would help those families afford childcare so that they can look for work.
The government can help by providing resources or funding to businesses that offer these services. This will ensure that companies can cover the costs of providing free or discounted services. The government can also create legislation that incentivizes businesses to offer these discounts.
3. Providing Essential Supplies:
Local businesses can donate essential supplies, such as food, clothes, and toiletries, to people in need. Food banks, homeless shelters, and other organizations rely on donations of non-perishable food items to help feed those who are struggling. Clothes cabinets and other clothing assistance programs depend on gently used or new clothing donations to help people who cannot afford to buy their own.
By donating these items to local charities, businesses can help ensure everyone has access to the essentials they need to live with dignity. The government can, in turn, provide financial assistance for companies that make these donations. This will help to offset the costs of donating these items.
The government can also create legislation that requires businesses to donate a certain percentage of their unsold or excess inventory to charity. This would ensure that companies contribute to the community and help those in need.
4. Giving Back:
Giving back to the community is an essential way for businesses to show their commitment to the people who support them. There are many ways businesses can give back, including volunteering some of their time or providing resources to local organizations. The government can create legislation encouraging businesses to give back, making it easier for them to do so.
Local businesses can also support nonprofits. For example, they can donate a percentage of their sales to a local charity. This is an easy way for businesses to give back without incurring any additional costs. This would create a win-win situation for businesses and the community, as businesses would get the satisfaction of helping others while also gaining positive publicity.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on small businesses and local economies across the country. However, there are steps that both business leaders and government officials can take to help mitigate some of the damage that has been done. By hosting job fairs, offering free or discounted services, providing essential supplies, and giving back, we can start to rebuild our communities from the ground up.